GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The City of Greenfield has found a solution for low-staffing levels that have left some overnight hours without officer coverage but it won’t fix anything right away.

22News dug into the Federal Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) Grant funding and how it will help the department going forward.

The Greenfield Public Safety Commission has secured federal grant funding for the hiring of four additional employees, including three officers and one dispatcher. The COPS Grant will provide $375,000 to fund the salaries of those four positions.

An agreement has been announced between the City and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to make this official. Details of the arrangement are being handled by Chief Robert Haigh Jr. and Sheriff Chris Donelan.

“I had no ability to cover an entire shift for the police The City of Greenfield is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer, a designated Green Community, and a recipient of the “Leading by Example” Award, department because of my own staffing issues,” Donelan said. “This grant puts Greenfield officers on all three shifts and simply relies on my deputies to add that last needed officer on each shift and fill gaps in the schedule,” Donelan stressed that this is a temporary solution. “Greenfield needs and deserves a fully funded, fully staffed police Department,” he said. “We are willing and able to help out the city, but my primary focus is the work we do at the House of Correction and we cannot lose sight of that.”

“Collaboration, internally and externally, with our partners in law enforcement is crucial at these times. I’m very grateful for the support the Sheriff is giving us and hope that we can be back to full staffing as soon as possible. While I appreciate all that is being done by other agencies, it is the responsibility of Greenfield and the Greenfield Police Department to provide the primary safety for our citizens” said Chief Haigh. “I wish to thank Deputy Chief William Gordon and our sworn and civilian staff for all their hard work and support during this stressful time,” he added.

The pursuit of the grant was first announced by Police Chief Robert Haigh back in January. That announcement came alongside another, that the department was planning to cut patrols between 11:00 at night and 7:00 in the morning to accommodate a non-increase in funding from the city. Since that announcement, Massachusetts State Police stepped in to fill the gap.

Currently, there are four hours overnight, from 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., when calls to the Greenfield Police Department are fielded and responded to by state police assigned to a temporary mobile command center.

“Chief Haigh’s and my focus in the last few months has always been on having 24/7 police coverage for the City of Greenfield. How to do it with a reduced budget was the question. The ability to hire two new certified officers under the federal Community Oriented Policing Services grant along with Sheriff Donelan’s assistance has produced this temporary solution. We’re grateful for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office assistance,” said Mayor Wedegartner. “I also want to thank the Massachusetts State Police for their support during this time. It came at the right time and is greatly appreciated.”

According to a social media post from the State Police Association of Massachusetts, the command center will remain until the issue is resolved but that could take some time.

The Public Safety Commission introduced the four new hires at their meeting this week. According to the Greenfield Recorder, only one of the new officers has completed the police academy and been certified by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, the other two haven’t started the academy yet.