GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Greenfield Police Officer and her comfort dogs are taking an unpaid leave of absence due to budget cuts made to the police department.

Greenfield Police Officer Laura Gordon has taken an unpaid leave of absence, in the aftermath of City Council’s $400,000 cut to the salary and wage line item in the police department budget. City of Greenfield says she made the decision so that a junior officer doesn’t have to be furloughed. Gordon oversees department’s comfort dog program.

“I respect Officer Gordon’s decision, but I also deeply regret it as I’ve told her. Officer Gordon’s absence from the Greenfield Police Department will not only be felt by her colleagues, but by our whole community. Our Comfort Dog program was the first in the nation and has become nationally recognized for its contributions to community response policing, especially during times of crisis, such as at the Boston Marathon bombing, and the Sandy Hook and Las Vegas shootings,” said Mayor Wedegartner.

Gordon has been with the Greenfield Police Department since August 1998. She may take up to a year of unpaid leave before deciding to return to the force. 

“The most difficult part of this decision is the feeling that I am letting down the people of Greenfield and the proactive approach to community policing to which I have dedicated my career, but I firmly believe this is the best course of action for the future of the Greenfield Police Department,” said Officer Gordon.

Courtesy: City of Greenfield

“I hope that I can return to the job that I love if the Department’s budget difficulties are resolved. In the meantime, I want to thank the community and my fellow officers for all they do to make Greenfield a great place to call home,” she added.

The department’s comfort dogs, Clarence, Donut and Ripon, will remain with the Gordon family.