Plymouth County DA’s Office to receive $500,000 federal grant to fight opioid epidemic
October 4, 2018
BROCKTON - Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s Office has been awarded a federal grant that will enhance office efforts to reach drug endangered children.
The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office will receive the $541,300 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, according to a press release. The grant was created to address an urgent gap in crime victim services related to the opioid epidemic and to expand upon existing or establish new programs to provide services to youth who are victimized as a result of the opioid crisis.
“Unfortunately, far too many children are being exposed to overdosing parents,” DA Cruz said. “Securing this grant money will help assist us in enhancing the capacity of Plymouth County to respond to the trauma that these children are witnessing. Through training, direct services, and building community partnerships, we can help identify who these kids are and help them build up the resilience to overcome this adversity. I am hopeful that this approach at reaching children at a younger age, when they are most vulnerable will benefit them in the long run. This is an extremely competitive process and we are honored to have received this grant.”
Cruz will use these critical funds to train law enforcement, schools, and community partners on identifying drug endangered children and developing the proper trauma sensitive response. In addition, Cruz is excited to partner with The Family Center at Community Connections of Brockton, a program of the United Way of Greater Plymouth County. The Family Center will be using funds to hire a clinical director to work directly with drug endangered children. The clinical director will also be working alongside Plymouth County Outreach, a collaboration of 28 police departments in Plymouth County dedicated to providing immediate outreach to overdose victims.Read more
12 Mass Programs Awarded over $8.4 Million to Combat Opioid Crisis
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October 3, 2018
BOSTON – The Department of Justice is awarding over $8.4 million to 12 Massachusetts programs that are working to combat the opioid crisis through prevention, treatment and enforcement.
On the first day of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is awarding nearly $320 million in federal funding to help those most impacted by the deadliest drug crisis in American history. Of that, the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is awarding $8.4 million to 12 Massachusetts programs.
“In 2017, over 2,000 Massachusetts residents died from drug overdoses,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “The opioid crisis is an unprecedented public health crisis in the United States, but we are committed to the President’s plan to end the epidemic through prevention, treatment and enforcement. With over $8 million in federal grant funding, programs in Massachusetts can expand to serve larger populations, increase services, and support those who are most impacted by this deadly epidemic. I applaud the grant recipients for their commitment to serve their communities in this way.”
Among the recipients is Plymouth County Outreach (PCO), which was awarded $496,650. PCO is an opioid prevention and recovery coalition made up of 27 municipal police departments in Plymouth County, along with the Bridgewater State University Police, District Attorney Timothy Cruz and Sheriff Joseph McDonald. PCO partners with healthcare, treatment and recovery agencies, local coalitions, faith-based organizations and hospitals to connect at-risk persons with treatment and recovery options in advance of an overdose. PCO will be honored for their work by the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) Leadership in Community Policing Award on Oct. 9th in Orlando, Fla.
In addition, Wayside Youth and Family Support Network was awarded $481,428. Wayside’s Trauma Intervention Services will use the funding to provide counseling and advocacy to children and families who have suffered due the opioid crisis in Worcester, Norfolk and Middlesex counties.
Other recipients of federal grant funding in Massachusetts include:
- The Middle District Attorney’s Office awarded one grant of $360,000 and one of $500,000;
- Boston Police Department awarded $305,362;
- City of Holyoke Police Department awarded $448,025;
- Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Trial Court awarded $1.5 million;
- Advocates for Human Potential awarded $1.55 million;
- City of Worcester awarded $$744,668;
- Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office awarded $541,300;
- Franklin County Sheriff’s Office awarded $1,000,999; and
- LUK Crisis Center awarded $500,000.
The complete list of grant funding is available here.
October marks two important anti-drug events: Red Ribbon Week and National Prescription Drug Takeback Day. Red Ribbon Week(link is external) takes place every year between October 23-31 and encourages students, parents, schools, and communities to promote drug-free lifestyles. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on October 27 provides a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also preventing drug addiction and overdose deaths. DOJ expanded on DEA’s Drug Takeback Days and collected more than 2.7 million pounds of expired or unused prescription drugs since April 2017.
Recovery Rally at the Plymouth Recovery Center
Plymouth County: DA Tim Cruz talks with WATD’s Christine James
Arsonist linked to Brockton, Hanson blazes imprisoned for violating probation
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By Cody Shepard
posted Sep 6, 2018 at 11:03 AM
updated Sep 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm
Mark Sargent was sentenced to prison time on Wednesday for a probation violation after he was accused of setting several more fires.
BROCKTON — A convicted serial arsonist who was on probation when he was charged with setting five more fires will now spend at least the next decade in prison.
Mark Sargent, 50, was sentenced in Fall River Superior Court on Wednesday to 10 to 15 years in state prison during a probation surrender hearing, the Bristol County district attorney’s office confirmed to The Enterprise. Judge Thomas McGuire issued the sentence.
The hearing came about when Sargent, who was on probation for setting fires in West Bridgewater, Scituate and Marshfield in 2012 and 2013, was arrested on new charges early last October.
Sargent is currently awaiting trial after he was indicted last December by a Plymouth County grand jury of three counts of burning of a dwelling, four counts of wanton and malicious destruction of property and one count of burning of personal property. He is also awaiting a trial in Fall River Superior Court, charged with setting a fire in Westport.
The Fall River man was indicted related to fires last year at 22 Channel St. in Hull on Sept. 20; 16 Liberty St. in Hanson on Sept. 24; and at 175 East Ashland St. and 1210 Montello St. in Brockton on Oct. 4.
When Sargent was arraigned on the new charges in Brockton District Court, he was held on $250,000 bail. At the time of his Brockton Superior Court arraignment, he was held on $100,000 bail in February.
Sargent was on probation for the fires he set, along with his stepson, in 2012 and 2013 when he was charged in last year’s fires.Read more
Memorial stone to be dedicated to fallen Duxbury police officer
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By Amy McKeever
September 6, 2018
DUXBURY — A fallen Duxbury police officer will be honored with a memorial stone and dedication ceremony outside the police department Saturday afternoon.
Officer Melvin Dyer, who was killed in the line of duty, will be honored on the 10th anniversary of his death with a ceremony outside the department headquarters at 11 a.m.
Dyer, a special police officer, was directing traffic at the Marshfield Fair Aug. 16, 2008, when he was struck by a vehicle that failed to stop at the intersection of Main and South River streets. Nine days later he succumbed to his injuries.
“This is something we had been planning for a couple of years now,” Chief Matthew Clancy said of the memorial.
The department previously had a plaque on display to honor Dyer, but Clancy said they felt they needed something more permanent.
“We find it is a more substantial and permanent reminder to residents and our staff of that sacrifice,” he said.
A member of the Marine Corps for more than 20 years, officer Dyer served in Vietnam and received multiple honors including the Purple Heart. He previously served with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office before joining the Duxbury department. Clancy said Dyer the only Duxbury police officer to be killed in the line of duty.
The stone will be located right outside the front door of the police department, 155 Mayflower St. There will be a reception after the ceremony in the department’s training room.
Clancy said state Sen. Pat O’Connor, state Rep. Josh Cutler, District Attorney Tim Cruz and members of the Dyer family will be speaking at the memorial.
For 42nd year, kids will be off to the races again in Brockton
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By Cody Shepard
September 3, 2018
This Saturday will mark the 42nd season of the Kids Road Races, which are held for eight weeks in the fall and spring at D.W. Field Park.
BROCKTON — Every Saturday for the last 40-plus years, Dave Gorman could be found in the same spot -- fall and spring, rain or shine.
Well, maybe all but one.
“I think I missed one when my son was graduating from college,” he said. “But I think I sort of left late to get there so I was there, but I didn’t stay to finish it.”
On Saturday, about a hundred kids from the city and around the region will gather at D.W. Field Park for the 42nd season of the Kids Road Races.
Gorman and his wife, Judy, have put their blood, sweat and tears into the event for the last four decades. And this Saturday won’t be any different.
“I’ve been doing this for 40 years. If I didn’t do it, I don’t know if anyone else would do it,” he said. “I don’t mind doing it, I’m still healthy enough to do it and I like working with the kids.”
The most important thing for Gorman, he said, is to keep the event affordable. When the program started, it cost just a quarter per race. It later increased to 50 cents, then a dollar, where it remains.
“It’s the cheapest thing you can do in Brockton with a kid -- just a dollar a week,” he said. “I said years ago that if I ever had to raise the price over a dollar, I probably wouldn’t do it anymore.”
The races started decades ago as a school program, but were dropped due to funding cuts. That’s when Gorman stepped in. Now, usually 100 to 140 kids take part each week.
The races, which are 2.2 miles around the park, are open to children 14 years old and younger. There are 10 total divisions for boys and girls -- 6 years old and under, 7 and 8 year olds, 9 and 10 year olds, 11 and 12 year olds and 13 and 14 year olds.
The program runs eight weeks each fall, beginning about the first week of school, and in the spring. The first fall race this year is set for Sept. 8 and the last will take place on Oct. 27.
Each week, registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Pentangle parking lot, which is just past Tower Hill. The race begins sharply at 10 a.m.
Children who run at least five weeks in a season receive a trophy at the end of the year. Every week, the first three runners in each category receiving a ribbon. A pizza party is held for all participants at the end of the season.
Parents can pre-register children by emailing Gorman ([email protected]), but can also just show up on the day of a race.
The races are sponsored by Brockton Firefighters Local 144, the Mark Creedon Memorial Race, New Balance, Signature Healthcare, Frank’s restaurant, the Plymouth County district attorney’s office and Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald Jr.Read more
Teen indicted in fatal East Bridgewater crash that killed 4 Stoughton students
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By Cody Shepard
September 1, 2018
The 18-year-old Stoughton man is accused of driving recklessly and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the May crash on Route 106 in East Bridgewater.
BROCKTON — An 18-year-old Stoughton man has been indicted by a grand jury on charges he caused a fatal crash that claimed the lives of four of his classmates.
Naiquan D. Hamilton was indicted late Friday as a youthful offender on four counts each of manslaughter by motor vehicle, motor vehicle homicide by operating under the influence and motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation.
The crash occurred on May 19 at 558 West St. (Route 106), in East Bridgewater.
Prosecutors say Hamilton was driving recklessly and under the influence of marijuana when he crashed into a tree, killing his four passengers.
The crash claimed the lives of 17-year-olds David Bell, Christopher Desir and Eryck Sarblah and 16-year-old Nicholas Joyce, all students at Stoughton High School. Desir lived in Brockton at the time of the crash. Three of the victims died at the scene, while Bell was taken to Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, where he later died.
Bell was a junior and multi-sport athlete at Stoughton High School, where he played on the boys varsity basketball and football teams. Joyce, also a junior, played on the high school’s football team. They both were also on the track and field team.
Desir was part of the local Haitian community in Brockton. He assisted in the campaign of city councilor Jean Bradley Derenoncourt, and loved to play the drums at church on Sundays. Sarblah was also a member of the track team at Stoughton High and had an interest in photography.
The five teenagers were in Bridgewater the day of the crash playing paintball.
One of the teens, Desir, had his father drive to pick him up from paintball, but when he arrived, he asked for a few bucks so he could go to a restaurant with his friends. That’s the last time his father saw him.
The car the teenagers were in, a white Hyundai Sonata sedan, was almost unrecognizable after the crash. It was wrapped around a tree and upside down in a yard near West and Laurel streets.
Steve Walsh, a Bridgewater resident, told The Enterprise the night of the crash that he was driving west on West Street, approaching Laurel Street, when he witnessed the Sonata coming from behind him.
“As I was rolling up there, I was just reaching for the directional and out of the corner of my eye I saw a car airborne that passed us on the left, going through the yards,” he said. “It was very surreal to see a car flying through the air faster than what you’re driving on the road.”
Walsh estimated the sedan was driving upwards of 100 miles per hour.
Police say they reviewed surveillance video from nearby homes, which captured the crash on camera.
Hamilton, the driver, was taken by ambulance to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton following the crash, then transferred to Boston Medical Center for treatment of unknown injuries.
The investigation found that “Hamilton was driving recklessly and under the influence of marijuana at the time of the fatal crash,” District Attorney Timothy Cruz said in a written statement.
Hamilton will be arraigned on the charges in Brockton Juvenile Court, as he was 17 years old at the time of the crash, at a later date.
The case, which was investigated by East Bridgewater police, state police detectives assigned to the Plymouth County district attorney’s office and the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Russell Eonas and Stephanie Mello.
Ex-firefighter charged with setting fire at shuttered Hanson pub
Criminal complaint charges 75-year-old Cape resident and former Boston firefighter with setting three-alarm fire.
A Bourne man has been arrested on arson charges after an investigation found that he set fire to an abandoned restaurant in Hanson, according to a statement from the Plymouth County district attorney’s office.
On July 5, at 2:54 p.m., the Hanson Fire Department received a report of a fire at JJ’s Pub, an abandoned commercial property at 16 Liberty St. Upon arrival, fire personnel discovered the interior of the structure to be fully engulfed in fire. The blaze required a three-alarm response and took some time to extinguish due to the full involvement of the structure.
Two Hanson firefighters sustained heat exhaustion injuries battling the blaze and the building was deemed a total loss as a result of this fire.
Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Section and Hanson police and the Fire Department determined that the cause was ruled incendiary and an investigation commenced, the statement said.
As a result of the investigation, Hanson police obtained a criminal complaint charging 75-year-old Alfred C. Russo of Bourne with one count of burning of a dwelling and two counts of arson causing injuries to a firefighter. Russo served as a member of the Boston Fire Department from 1969-1995, when he retired as a firefighter assigned to the Marine Unit.
Russo was arrested at his home in Bourne Wednesday afternoon by state police. He was transported to Plymouth District Court, where he was arraigned on the charges. Russo pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance and ordered to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, the statement said. The commonwealth requested that Russo be held on $15,000.
Russo is next scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 5.
Hanover Mall exhibit explains marijuana law in Massachusetts
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by Katherine Isbell
August 29, 2018
HANOVER — The new laws surrounding recreational marijuana can be hard for the public to understand. South Shore’s Youth Health Connection is working to break them down for teenagers and parents, as well as the effect of marijuana use on the developing teenage brain.
In an interactive exhibit at the Hanover Mall, open for the second year and newly redesigned, called “Weeding Through the Myths: Marijuana in Massachusetts,” visitors can learn about the state of recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth and the legal consequences users may face, as well as vaping and e-cigarettes, the importance of good communication between parents and teenagers and how to deal with stress and anxiety without using drugs.
“We know we voted through that retail marijuana sales will be out, however, unlike other states, it didn’t have like that midnight opening or anything, so people are kind of like, ‘What’s happening?’ Well, we don’t know, the Cannabis Control Commission is in the process of providing all of the licensing for all of those establishments,” said Kim Noble, a registered nurse and the program coordinator for Youth Health Connection, “In the meantime, we just want to help people understand what is the law, that it’s 21 and over. How do we help parents educate their own kids about that? Everything, this is all new to us, so that’s really the thing that we just want to help people understand the law.”
At a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, attendees heard from Noble, as well as Dr. Barbara Green, the medical director for Youth Health Connection, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, Antony Sheehan, the president and CEO of South Shore Mental Health, and Hanover Police Chief William Sweeney.
The exhibit itself opens to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 4 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 29. It is located inside the Hanover Mall and will be open from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1-3 p.m. on Saturdays.