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Greenfield to hire deputy police chief

Will put more cops on the street

GREENFIELD — The town’s new police chief has decided to restructure his department by adding a deputy chief, returning two acting lieutenants to the streets, and hiring two more full-time officers by the end of June.

Chief Robert Haigh, who became Greenfield’s police chief on Nov. 15, said he wants to strengthen his street force because the “narcotics problem in Greenfield needs lots of serious attention.”

Haigh, who started his career as an officer in the Greenfield department and most recently served as police chief in Orange, said with the backing of Mayor William Martin and the town’s Public Safety Commission that he hopes to promote someone from within the department to serve as his second-in-command.

He said he will recommend to the mayor that the town not look outside of the department for a deputy chief, because he would prefer someone familiar with the Greenfield department, its operations and with the town itself.

“I want this to be seamless,” said Haigh.

Rather than use the Civil Service process, “We will hire a company to test and interview candidates who would like the position,” he said.

Haigh said the assessment firm the town hires will have to be Civil Service approved and will do all of the work, from reviewing applications to testing and interviewing to making recommendations to the town.

He said the mayor will have the final say about who is hired.

“A deputy chief will give the department more stability at the top,” said Haigh. “That person will work hand-in-hand with the chief.

The town hasn’t had a deputy chief since Joseph LaChance served in that position for a while under former Police Chief David McCarthy, who served as chief from 1982 to 2004.

Haigh said the deputy chief will be in the state Civil Service system and non-union, like himself.

He said the deputy chief will “be on the same page as the chief and will have full authority when the chief is not there.”

Haigh said the deputy chief will be in on all decision making, including the department’s yearly operating budget. One of the deputy chief’s major duties will be to oversee the department’s detectives.

He said he is sending the department’s acting (temporary) lieutenants back to their sergeant positions so that there is a patrol and command presence on the streets of Greenfield.

“We have a lot of narcotic issues,” said Haigh. “We need that.”

He said once a deputy chief is hired and the two lieutenants move back to sergeants — by March 1 — acting Capt. Joseph Burge will move back to lieutenant and the department will not have a captain.

By the end of the fiscal year (June 30), Haigh said the department will have 35 officers, including himself, the deputy chief, two lieutenants, six sergeants, and 20 patrol officers, three detectives, one school resource officer and one court officer.

Haigh said he would like to build the department to a minimum of 40 officers, including the top positions.

“We’ve got a good start, but I’d like to have more downtown patrols,” he said. “We’re going in the right direction.”

Haigh said he also has an administrative staff of three full-time people.

“I’m glad they’re there,” he said. “They do a lot of the paperwork and other tasks that officers had to do when the department was down staff. That frees our officers up to do what they need to on our streets.”

Haigh said once the department reaches its minimum staffing goal of 40, he will restructure again.

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