Plymouth County Triad keeps seniors safe and secure
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
'A beautiful product': Bench outside Brockton City Hall dedicated to area homicide victims
June 25, 2021
BROCKTON — A black bench with red trim now sits in the plaza outside Brockton City Hall.
The Survivors' Bench carries a plaque "in memory of loves ones, victims of homicide whose lives we honor here."
"They are forever dear to us," the commemorative plaque concludes.
The bench is the work of the South Shore Resource and Advocacy Center's S.H.A.R.E.S program — Surviving Homicide's Aftermath — Resources, Education and Support.
The group approached late Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter a few years ago about dedicating a bench outside City Hall to Brockton-area homicide victims. Carpenter gave his support and Brockton's Superintendent of Parks Timothy Carpenter provided the group with a bench that could be refurbished.
Members of the S.H.A.R.E.S program painted the bench during a group paint night prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but plans to unveil it outside City Hall were put on hold when the pandemic emerged.
With COVID-19 restrictions lifted and Massachusetts reopening, the ceremony was finally held Wednesday afternoon outside City Hall.
"We have a beautiful product here today," said Karen Fabrizio, program coordinator for S.H.A.R.E.S. "It's for people to come here collaboratively, for vigils, for just some peace for yourself and a place where victims of homicide and survivors can come and just have a little place of their own with a little integrity, a little silence and a little peace."
The program's Rev. Bill McCoy said S.H.A.R.E.S provides resources to family and friends of homicide victims in Bristol and Plymouth counties.
One local resident who has received support from the program is Shannon Tangherlini, whose son, Matthew Tangherlini, was fatally shot in the city on Oct. 5, 2015, at the age of 27.
Tangherlini applied for and received a grant from the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute to make the bench possible.
"As survivors, we wanted to provide a memorial site to honor our loved ones," Tangherlini said. "The bench here, I'm hoping, will provide a special meeting place for families and others who have experienced similar types of trauma. I think it's important to have our loved one's lives recognized."
Brockton Mayor Robert Sullivan also gave his blessing for the bench outside City Hall and credited the members of S.H.A.R.E.S for not letting the project fall to the wayside, but remaining dedicated to it even after Carpenter's death.
"I, as mayor, and as a dad of three kids, I've never felt the pain that some of you have felt. But I recognize and get prayers every single day from Sharon Baker," said Sullivan, referring to a Brockton woman who started a support group for those who have lost loved ones after her son, Tyrelle Baker, was fatally shot in 2012. "She sends me a text every morning with a prayer. And I just want to say that we must always remember what happened and always reflect on how we need to make change here in the City of Champions and in the commonwealth and in the nation. We need to cut down on homicides. We just need to do that. We need to be able to embrace and love."
Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz called the bench a worthwhile memorial for people whose lives were taken.
"I'm glad that when I go around on my walks now, I'll be able to see the bench and it will remind me just a little bit about the cases that we have, the people that we deal with, the challenges that we face and the work that we have to do to bring peace to everybody," Cruz said. "Peace is attainable. It's attainable by groups like this that are working hard together."
Brockton Police Chief Emanuel Gomes said he's witnessed many "terrible tragedies," referring to murders, during his 35-year career.
"Every one of these incidents has touched me and they've changed me," he said.
Enterprise senior reporter Cody Shepard can be reached by email.
Brockton residents march in Father's Day Peace Walk against violence
BROCKTON — More than a hundred Brockton residents took to the streets to walk in peace against gun violence for the third annual Father's Day Peace Walk on Sunday morning.
In a City Hall office in 2019, where walk organizer Sharon Baker worked, she spoke to one of her colleagues about what she could do about the anger and hurt growing inside.
"I started the walk because I was angry, and there was a lot of anger building up inside of me towards my son being murdered," said Baker, whose son, Tyrelle Baker, was fatally shot in Brockton in 2012.
"I told my coworker I have to do something. I have to get rid of this anger," Baker said. "Grief comes in many stages, some people say it's five, some say it's 12, but there's no number on it. Some days I'm OK, and other days I'm crying because I miss my boy."
Baker said she didn't want to live her life filled with angst. She needed a plan. Baker prayed about it and she said God gave her an idea — a peaceful walk.
Baker has dedicated over six years of her life to educating the community about gun violence prevention and healing since the murder of her 23-year-old son.
In 2015, Baker founded Life After Death, a Brockton support group for people who has lost a loved one, but is open to anyone.
Several community leaders, gun violence survivors and victims attended Sunday's walk to show their support, stand in solidarity against gun violence and speak words of encouragement.
LaDawn Baker, the founder of A Call to Survivors Inc., a nonprofit for victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, attended the walk to support her cousin Baker.
"I am a survivor," LaDawn said. "I speak and share my story and I encourage others to speak up even if they've never experienced domestic violence or sexual assault directly but to speak up and advocate for others."
LaDawn has lost two family members to gun violence and said she appreciates events like the Father's Day Peace Walk because it gives her hope for a brighter future.
"Events like these are always helpful. They're needed. It's a necessity and we hope each year more and more people participate," she said. "The more the community sees residents, friends, neighbors, elected officials, business owners that are out here involved, it makes an impact."
"It sends a message to people out here committing these crimes that we don't want it anymore," LaDawn said. "Enough is enough. Being able to show solidarity and helping family members living in hell for the rest of their lives because they lost their loved ones to gun violence."
The walk started from Vicente's Supermarket and ended at City Hall. Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz and other elected city officials blended in the crowd sporting their white Father's Day Peace Walk T-shirts.Read more
Brockton man convicted of federal gun, drug crimes
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December 3, 2018
Douglas Norris, 39, was arrested during a major police raid in June 2017.
BOSTON – A Brockton man will serve time in federal prison for illegally possessing weapons and drugs after he was arrested last June during a major police sting in the city.
Douglas Norris, 39, was convicted in federal court in Boston Monday, the U.S. District Attorney’s office said in a press release, and will be sentenced in March 2019,
Norris was one of 27 city residents arrested during a large-scale police raid in June 2017 that sought wanted felons and repeat offenders of drug and violent crimes.
Police executed a search warrant at Norris’ home on North Warren Avenue, where they discovered a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol, 21 additional rounds of ammunition, plastic baggies containing 32 grams of cocaine and 46 grams of crack cocaine and various drug paraphernalia.
Norris was prohibited from possessing a firearm based on a prior 2005 conviction.
In federal court Monday, a jury found Norris guilty of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, one count of possession with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of crack cocaine, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris will sentence Norris on March 28, 2019.
Norris’ conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and various federal, state and local officials, including Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz and Brockton Police Chief John Crowley.
Getting to the heart of opioid epidemic in Hanover
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November 8, 2018
by Adam Silva
Joanne Peterson knows firsthand the challenges that come with having a child struggle with drug addiction.
Peterson, the executive director of Learn to Cope, founded the program to help families in crisis in 2004 “out of desperation” to help her son who was battling a serious drug problem.
Learn to Cope was one of the organizations on hand on Oct. 24 in Hanover to discuss teen opioid prevention with a crowd of 30 people.
“Meetings like this are extremely important to the community and I wish they were more advertised so more people knew about them,” said Pat Moskowitz, a representative from Lean to Cope. “I really think this should have been a standing room only meeting. The overdose numbers are probably low because of Narcan. I believe there are a lot more overdoses that aren’t reported. They should be, but probably aren’t.”
Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz helps organize a drug abuse task force meeting every other month and invites people who can bring in new ideas to address the issue. Plymouth County Sheriff Joe McDonald, Hanover Police Chief Walter Sweeney and Team Sharing Inc. representative Cynthia Wyman were on hand at the meeting. State Rep. David DeCoste hosted the meeting.
“We do forums throughout the county when requested and we bring people in to talk about the problems and issues that we are facing,” said Cruz during the meeting at Center School in Hanover. “It’s gr
“We do forums throughout the county when requested and we bring people in to talk about the problems and issues that we are facing,” said Cruz during the meeting at Center School in Hanover. “It’s great to get the community involved and there were a lot of good questions tonight about what is going on with our county.”
Cruz told those in attendance that opioid addiction “doesn’t have a zip code, doesn’t matter if you’re in a city or town and doesn’t matter at all where you are.”
It can affect anyone, he said, including the families and loved ones of those who become addicted.
Ten Charged in Drug Distribution Ring
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November 1, 2018
BOSTON – Ten individuals, most of whom are from Brockton, were charged today in federal court in Boston in a wide-ranging fentanyl and cocaine conspiracy.
Seven individuals were arrested today, two are currently in state custody, and one is at-large. The following 10 individuals were charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine:
- Djuna Goncalves, 32, of Brockton, currently in state custody;
- Cody Goncalves, 26, of Brockton, currently in state custody;
- Anthony Goncalves, 20, of Brockton, currently at-large;
- Angelo Pina, 27, of Brockton;
- Calvin Mendes, 40, of Brockton;
- Carlos Antunes, 33, of Brockton;
- Jermaine Gonsalves, 32, of Brockton;
- Ozair Pereira, 30, of Brockton;
- Joseph Greene, 21, of Taunton; and
- Brian Donahue, 38, of Truro
“This morning’s arrests should remind all gang members and drug traffickers that they cannot operate freely in this state,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Over the past year, in conjunction with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we have removed dozens of violent criminals from our communities, and we will continue to do so.”
"Operation Red Heat dismantled a large scale Fentanyl distribution ring making its home base on Addison Avenue, but with a trafficking reach far outside of Brockton’s borders,” said Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. “I commend the work of Massachusetts State Police CINRET, Detectives in the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security, DEA and Brockton Police to take five guns and a half kilo of Fentanyl off the street. Their diligent police work quieted the drug activity in a Brockton neighborhood and made much of Plymouth County safer today.”
“This is another example of the ongoing efforts of the Brockton Police Department and the administration of Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter to partner with federal, state and local law enforcement partners to take the most violent repeat offenders off the streets and make Brockton a safer City,” said Brockton Police Chief John Crowley.
According to the charging document, in 2018, federal, state, and local law enforcement began investigating Djuna Goncalves and other alleged members of A Block, a violent Brockton Street gang whose members typically come from Addison Avenue or the surrounding neighborhood, which have for years been plagued by shootings, including two murders, and other crimes of violence.
It is alleged that during the investigation, Djuna Goncalves and his brothers Cody and Anthony Goncalves distributed large quantities of fentanyl, cocaine, and other drugs from an apartment on Addison Avenue to A Block members and other drug traffickers in Brockton and southeastern Massachusetts. Djuna and Cody Goncalves and Calvin Mendes distributed drugs while on pre-trial release for pending state drug trafficking and gun possession charges. Djuna Goncalves and Angelo Pina were previously convicted of drug trafficking offenses in federal court in Boston, and Pina is still on supervised release from his prior federal conviction.
On Oct. 21, 2018, Djuna Goncalves survived an assassination attempt after an unidentified assailant fired multiple shots into his basement apartment. It is alleged that when law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Goncalves’ home, they recovered an AK-47 assault rifle, a Glock .45 caliber pistol, a large number of ammunition clips to various types of firearms and accompanying ammunition, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, Suboxone strips, a hydraulic press, packaging materials, digital scales, and approximately $12,000 in cash. Djuna and Cody Goncalves were subsequently arrested on state charges as a result of the evidence seized during the execution of the search warrant.
The charge of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and cocaine provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
--U.S. Attorney's Office
Plymouth County district attorney named president of state association
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By Cody Shepard
October 27, 2018
Timothy J. Cruz is again running for re-election in Plymouth County.
BROCKTON — Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has been nominated to be the president of an association consisting of all district attorneys in the state.
The Massachusetts District Attorney Association announced the nomination on Friday.
Cruz, who is again running for re-election in the county, has served as the president of the association twice before – in 2005 and 2010.
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey is the current association president. A vote will be taken at the next association meeting, on Nov. 16, to confirm Cruz’s nomination.
Members of the association also nominated Hampden County District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni as vice president.
The association is an independent state agency with a mission to support the 11 elected district attorneys and their staff, including about 785 prosecutors and 260 victim-witness advocates.
“I have deep respect for all of my fellow district attorneys and am honored that they have nominated me to be president,” Cruz said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing our work together through MDAA.”
Cruz is running for re-election in the upcoming November election against John E. Bradley Jr., a former prosecutor in Cruz’s office. Bradley settled a wrongful termination lawsuit last year against Cruz for $248,000.
Cruz also currently serves as a vice president of the National District Attorneys Association.
Opinion Support Cruz for DA
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October 20, 2018
The opioid crisis has gripped our commonwealth. It is not partisan, does not discriminate, is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It impacts us all, whether you are an active user, are the friend or family of a person in distress, or have lost a loved one to an overdose. At this time of shared sorrow we need a champion to help. I am honored to endorse such a champion: Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz. He has protected children, the elderly, domestic violence victims, and the disabled from abuse by working collaboratively with local law enforcement, social service agencies, health care professionals, the faith community and educators on crime prevention initiatives throughout the county. DA Cruz has endorsed the availability of Narcan, the life-saving medicine that can reverse a potentially lethal overdose. The DA has helped support Drug Story Theater, bringing education to the middle and high schools across Plymouth County. He has worked to help the children who have been directly impacted by substance use in the family, following, supporting and implementing the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) program. By paying attention to the children DA Cruz hopes to avoid the next opioid crisis. I’m all for that.
Joseph Shrand, MD, Marshfield
Opinion LETTER: In support of District Attorney Tim Cruz
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October 13, 2018
District Attorney Tim Cruz deserves your support on Election Day.
As the former chief of police for the town of Plymouth, I worked very closely with District Attorney Tim Cruz for many years. I first met Tim in 1985 when he was a new assistant district attorney assigned to the Plymouth District Court. Even back then, I admired what I saw – a tenacious prosecutor who had compassion for victims.
As district attorney, Tim and his staff are aggressive prosecutors who work closely with federal, state and local law enforcement to take dangerous criminals off the street to protect the public. Tim also has a deep commitment to the victims of crime and they never forget the impact that crime has on them.
Tim Cruz is a professional who has earned the respect of law enforcement. He is also a leader that has demonstrated his commitment to proactive prevention of crime through drug, alcohol and safety education programs for students, parents and educators.
District Attorney Tim Cruz deserves your support on Election Day.
Robert J. Pomeroy, Plymouth chief of police (ret.)
Plymouth County Outreach awarded
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By: Joe DiFazio
October 11, 2018
Plymouth County Outreach, a South Shore coalition of law enforcement and health care providers fighting opioid abuse, has won a national community policing award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The outreach program sends a team of plainclothes police officers and a recovery coach or clinician to the homes of overdose survivors to give them and their families information about resources available to them on the South Shore. The group also sets up weekly “drop-in centers” where people struggling with opioid abuse can learn about recovery options.
The award was presented to the outreach group in a ceremony in Orlando, Florida, Tuesday. The effort grew out of a collaboration between Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald.
“I am extremely proud of this recognition and this forward thinking of our police chiefs who made Plymouth County Outreach a nationally recognized initiative,” McDonald said in a statement. “We have work ahead of us but the strides being made to increase awareness on support services for people struggling with substance use disorder is critical and saving lives.”
Plymouth County Outreach is led by Plymouth Police Chief Michael Boteiri and East Bridgewater Police Chief Scott Allen.