Mayor Roxann Wedegartner has accepted Greenfield Police Officer Laura Gordon’s request to take an unpaid leave of absence, effective July 1. Officer Gordon’s leave of absence comes on the heels of the City Council’s $400,000 cut to the salary and wages line item in the Police Department budget.
“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.
Under the terms of the City’s collective bargaining agreement with the Massachusetts Coalition of Police, Officer Gordon may take up to a year of unpaid leave before deciding to return to the force. Officer Gordon joined the Greenfield Police Department in August 1998.
“After much soul searching, I have decided to step away from my duties as a Greenfield police officer so that a junior officer who would otherwise be furloughed because of recent budget cuts can remain on the force,” said Officer Gordon.
Officer Gordon currently oversees the Department’s nationally recognized Comfort Dog program. The program faces discontinuation at the end of June in order to allocate resources to other policing priorities. Comfort dogs Clarence, Donut and Ripon will remain with the Gordon family.
“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.
“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.