Greenfield police chief, lieutenant on paid leave

  • HAIGH

  • WEDEGARTNER

  • The Greenfield Police Station on High Street. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 5/9/2022 4:51:39 PM

GREENFIELD — Police Chief Robert Haigh Jr. and Lt. Todd Dodge have been placed on paid administrative leave by the city’s mayor.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said she made the decision on Friday, citing information that came to light during the racial discrimination lawsuit filed by former Greenfield Police Officer Patrick Buchanan. A Hampshire County Superior Court jury reached a verdict Friday and awarded Buchanan, a former Black officer, $92,930 in lost back wages and $350,000 for emotional distress. However, Wedegartner said the information leading to the administrative leave is “totally unrelated” to the verdict.

The mayor said she plans to review Hampshire County Superior Court transcripts. She would not disclose the subject matter of what is under review. When asked if anyone’s jobs are in jeopardy, Wedegartner said she does not believe so but is not certain.

“I support what the mayor needs to do and I respect her doing what she feels is the best for the city,” Haigh said in a prepared statement.

Deputy Police Chief William Gordon will serve as acting chief while Haigh is on leave. Gordon said he does not know how long the assignment will last but that “the most important part is to stabilize the department and keep things running until the situation is rectified.”

The verdict delivered Friday morning found the Greenfield Police Department and Haigh discriminated against Buchanan, the department’s only Black officer at that point, when he was denied a promotion. According to the verdict, the “city of Greenfield discriminated against (Buchanan) because of his race in connection with the promotional process between September 2014 and October 2015.” The jury found Buchanan was not promoted in 2014 due to “racial animus.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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