Rice retires after 24 years with Greenfield PD

  • Officer David Rice, pictured at the Veteran’s Mall in Greenfield in 2005. Rice, who was later promoted to sergeant, retired on Friday after 24 years with the Greenfield Police Department. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Officer David Rice, pictured on Main Street in Greenfield in 2005. Rice, who was later promoted to sergeant, retired on Friday after 24 years with the Greenfield Police Department. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Officer David Rice, pictured on Main Street in Greenfield in 2008. Rice, who was later promoted to sergeant, retired on Friday after 24 years with the Greenfield Police Department. STAFF FILE PHOTO

  • Greenfield Police Sgt. David Rice retired Friday after 24 years with the department. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/24/2023 3:05:54 PM
Modified: 1/24/2023 3:05:27 PM

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Police Department bid farewell to its second supervisor in a month when Sgt. David Rice signed off for the final time last week.

Rice fulfilled an administrative shift on Friday before embarking on retirement just as Lt. Dan McCarthy had about three weeks earlier.

“I’m sad to retire,” he told the Greenfield Recorder on Monday. “It’s kind of bittersweet. It was time for me to go. The last six months, with everything that was going on ... was really hard on me.”

Rice, 55, was officially off the Police Department’s payroll at midnight on Saturday. He submitted his letter of retirement on May 6, 2022.

The department received considerable attention starting on May 6, when a Hampshire County Superior Court jury found that Chief Robert Haigh Jr. and the Police Department had racially discriminated against then-Officer Patrick Buchanan, who is Black, when he was denied a promotion. The city is now appealing the decision. Rice said this situation generated a barrage of negativity on social media and the comments became unbearable.

“I just decided it was time,” he said over the phone from the Boylston Police Academy, where he was teaching a course on radar detection.

Rice noted he will remain a reserve officer in Greenfield so he can work traffic detail if needed.

The Leverett resident grew up in Natick and joined the Greenfield department 24 years ago following a stint in the U.S. Army. He said he has held several positions, including patrol officer, field training officer, instructor, and most recently, patrol sergeant. He also served as community policing officer from 2005 to 2008. Rice said he was promoted to sergeant about 11 years ago and supervised the 3 p.m.-to-11 p.m. shift for the majority of that time.

“I’m going to miss my shift so much,” he said.

In his most recent position, Rice co-supervised the department’s field training and evaluation program. His career’s primary focuses were the police response to and prevention of domestic violence. He said one of his greatest honors was being the sole recipient of the Criminal Justice Award for Outstanding Victim Advocacy at the State House in 2008 for his work combating domestic violence. He said he was nominated anonymously by a domestic violence survivor he had once helped.

In 2002, he served as a member of a multidisciplinary safety and accountability audit team, composed of police officers, domestic violence prevention advocates, dispatchers and prosecutors, which evaluated response practices in the 47 cities and towns covered by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. Rice mentioned the team developed 15 best practice recommendations to improve police response and five recommendations to enhance dispatch centers. These recommendations included a report writing card to assist police officers in gathering all relevant information from the victim. This card, Rice said, has become the statewide standard. Rice was also a founding member of the Greenfield mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force, chairing it until last year.

“You are greatly respected by all of those that have the privilege and honor to work with you and under your guidance,” a dispatcher read during Rice’s final radio call. “You are admirable in your compassion, not only amongst your peers, but with the members of the public. You take pride in your work, and lead by example, always being at the front line and making sure to assist any and all that need you.”

The dispatcher continued by saying Rice’s compassion “should be modeled after by all those that have the honor to wear the badge.”

Rice said he will miss the camaraderie that comes with the job but he feels the department is in good hands.

“We have so many young, promising leaders in our department,” he said. “The officers that work for me, they’re all superstars.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.


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