By: Jamie Wilkins/Worcester Patch – January 11, 2017
Flanked by members of his department’s Honor Guard, command staff, local clergy and family, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis was sworn-in for his second term serving as the county’s 28th High Sheriff on January 5, 2017 at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury.
The Inaugural Ceremony was attended by Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito who administered the Oath of Office and had much praise for Evangelidis. “Tonight with friends, family, community leaders, mayors, law enforcement and people from all of Worcester County we celebrate the individual for whom we are here tonight, Sheriff Lew. Under his leadership, Sheriff Evangelidis has gone above and beyond what we expected and strengthened our community here in Worcester County,” Polito continued.
“He is a Sheriff who understands that 90% of inmates suffer from addiction and he has touched inmates lives in a way that had not previously been done and by doing so, he is showing how to reduce the rate of recidivism. Our Sheriff serves this community in so many ways going above and beyond with the senior picnic and winter coat drive,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.
Evangelidis began his remarks by thanking family, friends, staff, supporters, the department’s honor guard and correction officers as well as fellow law enforcement officials. “Tonight is a celebration of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and how grateful we are to have this job in public safety and give back to the citizens of Worcester County,” said Evangelidis.
“We are proud of our promises made and promises kept throughout our first term and the professionalism of our department; including raising the hiring standards, implementing a promotional process based on merit, removing the Sheriff’s name off of the vehicles, prohibiting all political contributions from department employees and their spouses as well as immediately consolidating many costly positions,” Evangelidis continued.
“The role of Sheriff is more than a desk job and I am so proud of what we have accomplished in the mission of public safety to make Worcester County a safer place – at the jail, within our community and in our schools.” Said Evangelidis referring to the many programs implemented during his tenure including increased substance abuse programming, the use of shelter dogs for narcotics detection and inmate re-entry, prioritizing military hiring, inmate work crews that provided over seven million dollars in county-wide savings and an organic jail farming program that donated to local food banks over 20,000 pounds in fresh food.
Evangelidis also shared during his Inaugural remarks that almost 90% of his inmates are incarcerated due to addiction and substance abuse issues and to combat the current opioid epidemic head on he has given extraordinary focus to bringing that message with his Face2Face Program to over 270,000 middle and high school students.
Evangelidis’ address concluded with his vision for his next term which included two new building projects at the jail to address infrastructure needs at what is the oldest county correctional facility in the Commonwealth, establishing a local employment board to assist with inmate re-entry and job training as well as continuing efforts to combat addiction. His Department will also host and house patrol horses, in partnership with the Worcester Police Department, for the newly formed Mounted Police Patrol Unit.
Evangelidis also took a moment to thank many community and civic leaders as well as charitable organizations that have dedicated their lives to helping others in Worcester County and as Sheriff he has worked closely with including; Gordon Hargrove of The Friendly House, Billy Reilly of St. John’s Food for the Poor Program, Pastor Janice Ford of The Reconciliation House of Webster, Warmer Winters of Leominster and St. Anne’s Human Services of Shrewsbury.
“Over the last six years, it has been a great honor and privilege to serve as your Sheriff. I love this job and I am so appreciative of the faith you have have put in me and as we begin our second term at the Sheriff’s Department, I look forward to continuing that service,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.