Newspaper

Oct 25, 2016

Worcester County sheriff’s dog outfitted with vest

By Kim Ring
Telegram & Gazette Staff

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Worcester County Sheriff’s Department Officer Peter Campo, left, and his trained bloodhound, Maya, show her new protective vest to Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis on Tuesday. The vest was provided by Vested Interest in K9’s. T&G Staff/Kim Ring

WEST BOYLSTON – Maya, a 2-year-old bloodhound who works in the Worcester County sheriff’s office with her partner, Officer Peter Campo, is a gangly, happy mass of extra long ears and oversized paws, but she fits nicely into her new protective vest.

The vest, which is bulletproof and stab-proof, arrived this week, and Maya, one of four members of Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis’ K9 team, is the second to be outfitted with a vest. This one came courtesy of Vested Interest in K9s of East Taunton.

“I worry about her all the time,” Officer Campo said of Maya, adding that the vest provides an added measure of security for the times when Maya, a single-purpose dog whose specialty is tracking, is called out to work.

When he took office six years ago, Sheriff Evangelidis said, the department’s K9 program was on the verge of ending because of budgetary constraints. After some brainstorming, the program was reshaped to use rescue dogs, including Maya, who was rescued from Iowa. Nikita, a narcotics detection dog, has gained some fame on a television show, and the sheriff’s program has grown in popularity as a result.

“We got a call from the Holden Women’s Club and they wanted to support the program, too,” Sheriff Evangelidis said.

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Worcester County Sheriff Officer Peter Campo with his K9 partner, Maya, in her new protective vest. T&G Staff/Kim Ring

To pay for Maya’s vest, a “Santa Paws and Grinch” fundraiser was hosted by Especially for Pets in Medway in 2015. The vests are valued at between $1,795 and $2,234 each, and the cost to donate one is just over $1,000.

The vest weighs as much as 5 pounds, Officer Campo said, but doesn’t seem to restrict Maya. He said she’s wearing it a bit loosely to get used to it and pointed out that it also can be used to carry her or to clip her to him.

The Vested Interest in K9s program has provided more than 2,000 vests across the country, including one this summer for Elmar in the Worcester Police Department. Each of the donated vests is labeled in memory of a fallen police K9. Maya’s vest has an embroidered patch in memory of K9s Molly and Adam. Armour Express in Central Lake, Michigan, makes the vests.

Oct 25, 2016

Shrewsbury seniors treated to healthy harvest symposium

SHREWSBURY — More than 150 seniors were treated to information, goodies and fun at the 1st Annual Healthy Harvest & Safety Syposium held at the Shrewsbury Senior Center on October 13. The event was sponsored by the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association.

Topics covered included the health and safety issues that can be associated with aging, the new age of medicine, the benefits of yoga and hypnosis for pain relief.

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Donna Ostiguy, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach and Development Coordinator & Fern Lee, Yoga Instructor and Owner of Wellness Works at the Healthy Harvest and Safety Symposium held at the Shrewsbury Senior Center

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Shawn McKenna, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach Coordinator & one of many winners of raffles at the Healthy Harvest and Safety Symposium held at the Shrewsbury Senior Center

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Donna Ostiguy, Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach and Development Coordinator & Kristine Binette, Administrator at Beaumont Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center of Worcester

Oct 25, 2016

Sheriff to St. Bernard’s students: “Life is about decisions”

Sentinel and Enterprise
By Joe Atmonavage
UPDATED: 10/20/2016 07:40:31 AM EDT

SENTINEL

From left, St. Bernard’s Principal Deborah Wright, student Dominic Bilotta and Sheriff Lew Evangelidis during Evangelidis’ presentation Wednesday at the school as part of his Face2Face Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program. It was Dominic’s idea to have the sheriff speak at the school as part of his Boy Scout requirement. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / Ashley Green

FITCHBURG — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis said he does his best to interact with inmates, listen to their stories and learn how they ended up at the county’s House of Correction.

Evangelidis said inmates constantly tell him, “I wish someone had come to me in middle school and told me the facts about drugs and alcohol.”

That’s the reason Evangelidis has talked to nearly 260,000 students since being elected sheriff in 2010, discussing substance abuse and the path it can lead one down.

On Wednesday, he delivered that message to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at St. Bernard’s as part of his office’s Face2Face Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program.

“He has a tremendously engaging program,” said Deborah Wright, principal of St. Bernard’s. “He was clear, concise and engaging. This is a heartbreaking subject. We are all touched.”
Wright said student Dominic Bilotta approached her with the idea of bringing Evangelidis to the school as a requirement for a program he was working on as a Boy Scout.

ENTERPRISE

Oct 18, 2016

Sheriff’s Office hosts Senior Luncheon

The Landmark
By Patricia Roy

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Community outreach officer Shawn McKenna of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, helps dish up lunch for Sterling seniors. Patricia Roy photo

About 50 senior citizens were treated to lunch at the Sterling Senior Center last week by the office of Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.

Community outreach officer Shawn McKenna spoke with seniors about programs for all ages performed by the Sheriff ’s office, then helped serve up spaghetti and meatballs followed by cake to the crowd.

Programs of particular interest to seniors include the IRIS Recognition program that uses biometric recognition technology to positively identify missing children and elderly persons.

A member of the Sheriff ’s office captures a high resolution digital photograph of the subject’s eye in addition to collecting other information.

The photo and data is then uploaded to a national database so it is available to law enforcement in the event of an emergency.

McKenna said that along with Project Lifesaver, the IRIS Recognition program can be an important piece of identification for elderly who have dementia or other mental impairments who may easily get lost or wander away from home. Project Lifesaver provides a bracelet that emits a radio wave signal when activated.

It’s a good program for Alzheimer patients or developmentally disabled persons, McKenna said.

A house numbering program is also available for people who don’t have a clearly marked street number on their home.

The numbers are crucial to helping emergency personnel find a house when responding to a call, McKenna said. The Sheriff ’s office can provide a custom wooden sign with the house number that can be placed on the house or at the end of a driveway.

The File of Life program was explained and distributed to the seniors on hand. It’s an emergency information card that comes in a red case where people can list their contacts and medical data like conditions, prescriptions, blood type, allergies and physician name and number.

The Sheriff ’s K-9 services have been profiled on national television, including one dog that came from the Sterling Animal Shelter. The dogs are also used in missing person searches and for drug detection in public buildings.

The Inmate Community Service Program has inmate work crews complete projects in community owned buildings like Butterick Municipal Building, providing free labor for Worcester County towns and benefitting inmates who are close to their release date.

Scared Straight and Face2Face are two youth oriented programs, McKenna said. The first takes at risk youth on a tour of the correctional facility for a look at what life is like behind bars. A hand-picked group of inmates share their stories. The Face2Face program is an multi-media anti-drug program that Sheriff Evangelidis has taken to schools in the area, including Wachusett Regional High School.