Sep 19, 2014
7/19/2014 6:20:00 AM
News Staff Writer
REGION — Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis recently joined Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson on a trip to McAllen, Texas, to get a better look at the immigration issues that are currently facing the nation.
“This was really an opportunity for a fact-finding mission to see what was going on at the border,” Sheriff Evangelidis said while sitting in the airport waiting for his flight home. “People are being relocated up to Massachusetts. Now, we are a defacto border state and I feel that we should all know what is going on.”
Sheriff Evangelidis said he saw many flaws at the border as far as the United States policy is concerned.
“It was obvious that there is such a failed policy in this country that is driving the entire situation right now,” he said. “We have adopted a policy where if you get to American soil, you are essentially processed and then released.”
In speaking with local sheriffs, Texas safety patrol and customs and border patrol, the sheriff said the number of people coming in and being processed has already doubled last year’s numbers, and it is only July.
“Over 215,000 people are processed at this center we visited,” he said. “They basically volunteer themselves to be processed. They are then turned over to ICE — Immigration and Customs Enforcement — who bring them to airports, bus stations or train stations. They are given a form that says they have to appear in front of an officer in approximately 90 days and then released. They are basically given free ability to travel in the U.S.”
Local officials informed the sheriff that 99 percent of those people do not appear 90 days later.
Sheriff Evangelidis said that in conjunction with America’s failed policies, the Mexican drug cartel is adding fuel to the fire.
“The drug cartel is exploiting people and America’s failed policies to convince people to do work for them,” he said. “They are promoting America’s lack of enforcement to tell people that now is the time to come over the border. They are basically making billions of dollars and leaving the problems in our laps.”
Sheriff Evangelidis and Sheriff Hodgson were also brought on a tour of the border as part of their fact-finding trip.
“We got to experience it firsthand,” said Sheriff Evangelidis. “We saw it from the Rio Grande River and also an aerial view. We also met with border volunteers. I think they believe they are being unfairly blamed. The people we spoke to were working very hard and using all available resources. They just have no enforcement of existing laws behind them.”
The sheriff said the federal government needs to begin working on a solution to the illegal immigration issue.
“I think we need a multipronged approach,” he said. “First, we need to secure our borders. Second, we need to enforce our existing laws and third, we need to hold people accountable inside our country, such as employers that continue to promote working illegally.”
In Worcester County, the sheriff said he plans on informing the residents in his district about the ongoing issues facing both the state and the country as a whole.
“We’re going to speak with the Sheriff’s Association about what we learned,” he said. “We will also keep tabs on what is going on here to see if there is any increase related to the issue and come up with ways to combat that.”
Sep 19, 2014
Sep 19, 2014
BOSTON (CBS) – Efforts to tackle the state’s drug addiction epidemic are being made on several fronts.
“No one will tell you when they offer you a prescription painkiller that it can so easily turn into a needle in your arm in six months or less. No one will tell you that,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.
But Evangelidis says he hears that story every single day and can recite it in 15 seconds which he does during his face to face outreach program at Worcester County Public Schools.
Evangelidis says, “Nobody believes me and then I say to them: ‘I was in the middle of high school, started doing drugs, got addicted so my family kicked me out because I was stealing from them. So I went to my friend’s house, stealing from my friends so he kicked me out. So I went down the street, robbed my neighbor, got arrested and went to prison.’”
Tommy Lee Goddard is 26, doing 18 months for restaurant B and E’s to support his drug habit. Sober now, he says the demons linger. “Something that’s always there like I dream about it and I wake up and I’m like “oh God.” Honestly, I don’t want to do it. It’s just something that follows me,” Goddard says.
Worcester County’s community service program is helping him transition to a drug free life. On a recent rainy afternoon, he was blazing a new trail for the Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook Sanctuary.
And even sopping wet. Tommy Lee was very upbeat.
“I love this program,” Goddard says. “It gives me time to think about what I’ve done. It gives me improvement on my skill set. It gives me time to pay back to the community for everything I took from them.”
Sheriff Evangelidis calls the community service program a win-win.
“Every time you visit a site like you just did you, you see incredible work being done, such appreciation from the community and then you see at the same time the inmates benefit—never seen a program that saves millions of dollars and turns people’s lives around,” Evangelidis says.
Sep 16, 2014
WORCESTER — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Department brought its iris scan program to Worcester’s Nelson Place School with hundreds of students being added to a national registry.The eyes are ten times more identifiable than a finger print and can be used to help identify missing or abducted children. Sam Bonacci, MassLive.com
“The iris is ten times more identifiable than a finger print … it is the next wave of identification. It is extraordinarily identifiable. Your iris can never be compromised,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis who explained the scans can be used to identify lost or kidnapped children easily. He added, “The eyes don’t lie.”
The department has been using the iris scanning program for years among the county’s seniors where thousands of adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia have been scanned. The program has been used among children at fairs and community events, but for the first time the sheriff brought the program to a Worcester public school. The program is free to those who sign up
The eyes are ten times more identifiable than a finger print and can be used to help identify missing or abducted children.Sam Bonacci, MassLive.com
and can be used to quickly identify children who are either lost or may have been abducted.
“We try to see in what ways we can improve the safety for the community and this seemed like a no-brainer. We have the technology and have been using it for seniors and why not extend it to children,” said Evangelidis who has joined 1,300 other sheriff’s departments implementing this technology with children. “In the end, it’s another tool for public safety.”
Catherine Taylor has her eyes scanned at the Nelson Place School by members of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department.Sam Bonacci, MassLive.com
The Child Project national registry is maintained by the Missing Children Organization, a non-profit based in Phoenix. Once digital photos of the children’s eyes are made, the data is analyzed and a 688 byte code is created and put into the database. Any law enforcement agency with the proper equipment – which is now prevalent, according to Evangelidis – can easily scan a child’s eyes and get an identification along with contact information for the child’s parents.
The process requires children to have two pictures taken, one of their eyes and one regular digital photo for identification purposes. Parents must sign off on the program, according to the sheriff’s department, and the iris information is erased from the system once the child turns 18.
For more information about the program, to sign a child or senior up or inquire about getting the program into a school, people may contact the Sheriff’s Community Outreach Coordinator Shawn McKenna at (508) 723-4582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.