Greenfield Police fully accredited department

  • The plaque received by the Greenfield Police Department for achieving full accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Lt. William Gordon demonstrates the evidence room, which meets the standards of the full accreditation awarded to the Greenfield Police Department from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Officer Brent Griffin demonstrates the temporary evidence lockers used as part of the full accreditation awarded to the Greenfield Police Department from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Records Clerk, Gillian Hallkett, assisted the department in designing a more efficient records storage area, including purging nearly 50 years of old records at the Greenfield Police Department. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The plaque received by the Greenfield Police Department for achieving full accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Holding cells that meet the standards of the full accreditation awarded to the Greenfield Police Department from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Posted signs for the interrogation room which meets the standards of the full accreditation awarded to the Greenfield Police Department from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Safety measures on the cruisers included seatbelts that don’t require an officer to reach across a person to buckle them, barred windows, and not having access to the door handle from the inside. These meet the standards of the full accreditation awarded to the Greenfield Police Department from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Greenfield Police Department on High Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Greenfield Police Department on High Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Greenfield Police Department dispatch operated by Megan Cullen on Wednesday. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/12/2019 10:33:41 PM
Modified: 9/12/2019 10:33:30 PM

GREENFIELD – Greenfield Police Department has received full accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission. The department is now one of 89 fully accredited police agencies in Massachusetts, and the first one in Franklin County.

The Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission (MPAC) voted Tuesday to award the Greenfield Police Department its full accreditation in a ceremony held in Dover. Mayor William Martin, Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr., Deputy Chief Mark Williams, Lt. William Gordon and Lt. Joseph Burge attended the ceremony.

Massachusetts is one of 30 states in the country that have an accreditation program for police agencies.

“By seeking accreditation, police agencies first agree to make their policies and procedures in line with a number of industry standards that are considered to be best practices,” according to a press release from the Greenfield Police Department. “They also commit to investing in required equipment and facility upgrades as needed to meet these standards. There is also mandatory and regular training on a variety of topics for both sworn police officers and civilian personnel. The agency then agrees to being closely reviewed by an independent team of MPAC-appointed assessors to ensure that they are meeting the required standards and following their own policies and procedures as written.”

In Massachusetts, there are two levels of recognition offered by MPAC: certification and accreditation.

To be certified, agencies must meet a total of 159 standards; Greenfield achieved certification in October 2018.

To be accredited, which is the higher of the two awards, the Greenfield Police Department met and exceeded a minimum of 326 standards (257 mandatory and 69 optional).

The agency is required to be assessed every three years in order to maintain its accreditation. Gordon is the department’s accreditation manager.

Mayor Martin said the accreditation demonstrates the ability of the department and it was an area he asked Chief Haigh to focus on.

“There is a tier of professionalism and efficiency that the department needed to work towards at the time,” Martin said in an interview Wednesday. “You have to make sure all of the work is done ahead of time and the department got it done.”

He said because the police department is “a dominant department in most cities as well as on a national level, we wanted to assure the professionalism of the department through social justice and deescalating training.”

Martin said the achievement exemplifies that Greenfield is a safe city.

“Statistics show that violent crime is virtually non-existent and crime is low,” Martin said. “We are well served by he local police department that maintains a safe city for us.”

Chief Haigh said the accreditation process is a first step for the department to continue serving the community.

“It’s a system of checks and balances that demonstrates to the community that we’re practicing what we preach,” Haigh said an interview Wednesday. “We’re using best practices and proved that we follow them. Accreditation isn’t mandatory, it’s voluntary and we want to develop trust in the community. It’s a high professional standard.”

Haigh said although the accreditation process is not easy, it’s worth it for the department.

“Accreditation means we are recognized as professional agency — it’s a big and important step,” Haigh said. “We wanted to make sure we were one of the departments that were part of that, like Belchertown or Northampton, because we to provide best resources to the community.”

Throughout the process, assessors from the two departments did mock reviews at the Greenfield Police Station to “go through it with a fine-tooth comb,” said Haigh.

He added that the department couldn’t have gotten the accredidation without the work of the department and Gordon as well as the support of Mayor Martin.

Gordon said the accreditation process was a team effort.

“Having the support of the patrol officers, the police supervisors, our civilian employees, and in particular, Chief Haigh, Deputy Chief Williams, Mayor Martin and the members of City Council, was the driving force behind our effort,” said Gordon in a press release.

Gordon said during the process of accreditation, the department made significant changes in the design of its property room and the procedures that govern it.

Gillian Hallkett, the records clerk, assisted the department in designing a more efficient storage area, including the mountainous task of purging nearly 50 years of old records.

Officers have received additional training in such areas as biased-based policing, ethics/conflict of interest and stress/PTSD.

“You may have seen improvements of our incident command this year at the (Franklin County) fair and at the upcoming Wormtown Festival next weekend as we utilized resources from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) increasing public safety at these events,” Gordon said in a press release. “We have increased our partnerships with social service and mental health agencies through our efforts with the accreditation process. The citizens of Greenfield will notice an increased level of public safety, professionalism from our employees, as well as savings due to lower civil liability and a lower cost of insurance afforded to accredited police departments.”

In order to maintain the award, the department will need agency-wide support to continue to meet, maintain and exceed the standards put in place. The department must gather evidence over the next three years to prove to the commission that officers are consistently following policies and procedures, the supervisors are performing quality assurance checks and the city is continuing to provide the funding and equipment necessary to perform job functions at the standard of a professional police agency, according to the press release.

Other accredited police agencies in Western Massachusetts include Amherst, Northampton, Longmeadow, Great Barrington, and the campus police at UMass-Amherst, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at mbourdeau@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 263.




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