Plymouth DA Tim Cruz: 'We're Not Your Grandfather's DA's Office'
August 31, 2022
For over two decades, Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz (R) has been on the front lines facing the most pressing issues of public safety in the South Shore, Greater Brockton, and the SouthCoast – and he believes that the wave of progressive DAs throughout the country have been derelict in their duty to keep their constituents safe.
“They talk about reimagining criminal justice, and I say this: you don’t have to reimagine anything,” Cruz said in a recent appearance on SouthCoast Tonight. “San Francisco, L.A., Portland, Seattle, New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia – crime is skyrocketing left and right in those places because they refuse to do their jobs. Their job is to prosecute the laws. Not just the laws they like, but to prosecute them all.”
When asked what his office would do with low-level nonviolent offenses such as simple possession of a controlled substance, Cruz said they do consider diverting (declining to prosecute) those cases depending on the criminal history of the individual who is charged, and that it’s a practice that his and many other DA’s offices have been implementing for decades.
“Many of the progressive DAs across America talk about diversion like they invented it,” he said. “They didn’t. It’s been around for 40 years.”Read more
By Frank O’Laughlin
March 11, 2022
HINGHAM, MASS. (WHDH) - Law enforcement officials on Friday introduced a new comfort dog who will be tasked with reducing stress, promoting wellness, and helping community members heal.
Opry, a mixed-breed rescue pup hailing from Texas, is gentle and docile, according to Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz and Hingham Police Chief David P. Jones.
In addition to her presence in Hingham, Opry will also make appearances at the nationally accredited Plymouth County Children’s Advocacy Center, where she will be made available to comfort child victims of abuse.
“We know all too well the traumatic effect that stress can have on young people,” Cruz said in a news release. “Opry has developed a comforting presence and commands smiles wherever she goes.”Read more
BROCKTON – The U.S. Department of Justice awarded a $1.18 million grant to the Plymouth County district attorney's office to help children affected by drug use in their families and community.
The grant will allow the office to hire a project coordinator for the effort and partner with organizations that help kids impacted by substance use disorders.
“Identifying and offering support to children living in homes with addiction is an important step in disrupting the cycles of trauma and helping children and families build resilience," Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz said in a statement. "Securing this grant money will help assist us in enhancing Plymouth County’s response to the trauma that these children are witnessing."
The South Shore has been hard hit by the opioid crisis – law enforcement, elected officials and community leaders have been grappling with opioids for more than a decade.
Plymouth County in particular has seen high death rates. According to state data, the county saw more than 270 overdose deaths per 100,000 people between 2010 and 2020, second only to Bristol County for highest death rate. Brockton, Rockland and Carver had some of the highest death rates for municipalities across the state in that decade.
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz Joe Difazio/Patriot Ledger
The grant, which comes from a Justice Department program aimed at curbing the effects of drug use, will be distributed over three years.
Plymouth County's Drug Endangered Children Initiative, born out of the county's drug abuse task force created by Cruz and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald, has been recognized by the state for its effort in helping kids with trauma caused by drug use in their families.
To the Moon and Back, a nonprofit that helps kids born with exposure to or dependence on opioids, will be one of the district attorney's partners.
"This year we are conducting a research study on the long-term impacts of in-utero opiate exposure. This grant will allow us to educate families and providers on our findings to help develop lacking best practices in the educational, medical, and social emotional care of these children," Theresa Harmon, the group’s executive director and founder, said in a statement.
The district attorney's office will also partner with Community Connections of Brockton and The Family Center, Balance4Kids and Calmer Choice.
BROCKTON – In a surprising but hopeful finding, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz has announced that fatal overdoses in the county were down significantly in 2021 compared to 2020 and 2019.
In 2021, there were 132 suspected fatal overdoses in the county, compared to 165 in 2020 and 143 in 2019. These numbers were compiled from suspected fatal overdoses that Massachusetts State Police troopers responded to, the DA's Office said.
“We are pleased that the number of suspected fatal overdoses was down in 2021, but one overdose is still one too many,” Cruz said. “This coming year, we will continue our work with the Plymouth County Drug Abuse Task Force to get help and resources to those addicted and their families.”
The downturn is somewhat counterintuitive given that many professionals who work with people dealing with substance use disorder attributed the increase in overdose deaths in 2020 to the pandemic, which we are still dealing with.
Countering the COVID effect
Victoria Butler, program director of Plymouth County Outreach, a collaboration between all the police departments in Plymouth County that tries to increase access to substance use disorder resources, said COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns led to a sharp increase in relapses and fatal overdoses in 2020.
"When you take away resources and access to care, especially for individuals who might not have access to the internet, to virtual resources, it's going to have a catastrophic impact," she said.
But given those difficulties last year, Butler said, many organizations working on this issue learned a lot from 2020, and found ways to adapt to the pandemic and make resources more accessible.
"Going into 2021, the world was able to open back up a bit. And not only that, but we were able to get creative with the resources we offered," she said. "So, having more virtual options available, or getting creative with how we can offer the same services."Read more
October 15, 2021
Every year a portion of the money that’s taken through drug forfeiture in Plymouth County goes back into non-profit community groups.
Plymouth County D.A. Tim Cruz spoke with Christine James about how it works.
Click the link below to listen to the interview:
August 13, 2021
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz’s office sponsors numerous programs to help the public with everything from internet safety for kids, to keep seniors from getting scammed. Cruz told Christine James it’s all about keeping the community safe and informed.
to hear the interview, click on the link below:
The Patriot Ledger
Patriot Ledger Staff
July 1, 2021
BROCKTON – Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz's office is sending $32,000 to eight community groups as part of a program that reinvests money seized from drug crimes.
Cruz's office annually gives some of the cash seized in drug raids and similar operations to groups typically focused on fighting drug abuse.
“Each year, our office awards numerous Community Reinvestment Program funds to youth organizations, school districts, neighborhood associations and (senior assistance) programs throughout Plymouth County, at no cost to taxpayers,” Cruz said in a statement.
“Fast forward to 2020 and COVID-19: Many of these groups and organizations struggled. They do such great work and people in the community rely on their help. I am proud that we can steer these funds to good use."
Marshfield FACTS says it will use its $4,000 to compile and distribute reading materials to help teach young children about a loved one's substance use disorder.
"They have helped us out a lot," Susie Lordi, founder of 24Hr. Power, said of the grants. "It's a really cool program. It effects positive change in the community. ... They don't just give you the money, they participate however they can."
Lordi said her small organization doesn't have a professional grant writer or a full-time staff, so the money makes a big difference.
South Shore Peer Recovery in Scituate says it will use its $4,000 to fund its sober softball league.
Anchor of Hull will get $4,000 for a meditative arts group and emergency crisis diversion for those suffering from substance use disorder.
Other groups that got money from the program are Hingham CARES, Choices4Teens, the Homeless Improvement Project and Pembroke Titans.
The Old Colony Memorial
Dave Kindy, Wicked Local
June 28, 2021
A large group of senior citizens is gathered under a tent at the Plymouth County Farm on Obery Street. At first glance, it seems like nothing more than a social gathering, especially since coffee and conversation are flowing freely.
However, something more important is in play here. Walking through the crowd are Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz and Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald. They stop and chat amiably with the older adults, asking how they are doing and joking about finally not having to wear masks now that the COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed.
While the banter is lighthearted, this event has a more serious purpose. The annual luncheon of Plymouth County Triad is another step in keeping older adults safe and secure in their own communities.
Part of a national effort, the public safety program works to ensure that the needs of seniors are adequately addressed in the community. Law enforcement, councils on aging and older adults meet regularly across the county to discuss issues and find ways of assisting an older generation.
“Socializing is a big part of this,” Cruz said. “We meet all around the county to talk with seniors and keep them informed about scams and the crime du jour. We want them to know that we are here for them.”
Started by the National Sheriffs’ Association, Triad focuses on preventing older adult abuse by reviewing plans for an aging population and developing reliable support networks for assistance. Law enforcement works with the Center for Active Living and other councils on aging across the county to ensure older adults are not being harmed financially, physically or psychologically, or through caregiver and self neglect.
Plymouth County Triad consists of the district attorney, sheriff, local police and fire chiefs, council on aging directors, SALT (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together) members, senior citizens and representatives of community groups that assist older adults.
“We work with Triad to develop programming that educates seniors primarily on safety,” said Plymouth’s Director of Elder Affairs Michelle Bratti, who is also the Center for Active Living director. “These include financial, scam and fraud, virtual, health and ways to reduce crime in general. We host and coordinate them for our senior community, either through Zoom, PACTV and in-person events.”
Plymouth Country Triad programs programs are wide and varied. They include:
Safety Assurance – A well-being call to support independent living
Code Red – Public safety alerts for older adults
SafetyNet – A caregivers tool to keep those at risk of wandering safer
File for Life – Medical history kit kept for easy referral
Unused or Expired Medicine Disposal Program – Local boxes for safe disposal