Newspaper

Apr 28, 2016

Mike Flynn, former Worcester County sheriff, dies at 89

By Samantha Allen
Telegram & Gazette Staff

Former Worcester County Sheriff John M. “Mike” Flynn died of natural causes Friday morning.

Mr. Flynn, 89, of Charlton, served as the county sheriff for 18 years. He left office in 2005 after losing the 2004 Democratic primary to then state Sen. Guy W. Glodis.

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis said Mr. Flynn was the kindest elected official he knew.

“There are so many individuals he helped over the years. Anyone who was going through a difficult time or down on their luck always knew they could count on Sheriff Flynn,” Mr. Evangelidis said. “He will surely be remembered for his kind heart and generous spirit.”

Mr. Flynn was a World War II U.S. Army veteran who fought in the Pacific with the 75th Infantry Division. He joined the Fitchburg Police Department in 1953, where he served for a decade. He then took a job as a deputy master at the Worcester County jail in 1962, a career path that would bring him to the sheriff’s seat in 1986. He was re-elected twice.

Later in life, Mr. Flynn was involved in numerous charities, the sheriff’s office said, including the Mercy Centre and Dismas House. He also launched the sheriff’s annual senior picnic.

Former Worcester Mayor Jordan Levy worked with Mr. Flynn for many years. He said Mr. Flynn, even in his later years worried about what role government could play in offering assistance to the mentally ill and people with disabilities.

“He was not only a great sheriff but a great human being,” Mr. Levy said. “We shared conversations about … what government could do in a better way for society. He was kind of like the great American icon. He was really a character. … He was this big, big man, … (but) he had a softness as a really gentle person.”

Former Worcester County Treasurer Michael J. Donoghue recalled how Mr. Flynn oversaw a jail that grew from a few hundred inmates to more than 1,000.

“He had to deal with issues of overcrowding, a mandated reduction,” he said. “It was a pressure job, and he handled it unbelievably. He always kept in mind that he wanted to keep the public safe and correction officers safe.”

Mr. Glodis referred to his predecessor as “an institutional icon” who embodied “the best of the Greatest Generation.”

“Following in his footsteps, it really became clear to me how much he gave to other people. He was a prolific giver,” Mr. Glodis said. “He helped so many people from so many different issues, not just from rehabilitation, but with autism and those people that were disabled.”

In a statement, U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern said he and his wife were saddened to hear of Mr. Flynn’s death.

“He was a larger than life personality – with an even bigger heart,” the Democratic congressman wrote. “His devotion to public service and the common good is an example to us all. We loved him a lot and our prayers are with his family at this difficult time.”

The sheriff campaigns in Leominster in 2004

Jan 8, 2016

Sheriff swears in new class of correction officers

By LEOMINSTER CHAMPION

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis welcomed 12 new correction officers to the Worcester County
Sheriff ’s Office during a graduation ceremony on June 5 at Anna Maria College.

Leominster Resident Officer Jonathan Baldwin, who was the recipient of the Francis T. Foley Academic Award for the highest class average, as well as the Lawrence P. Sullivan Physical Fitness Award, was part of the 43rd graduating class of the Worcester County Sheriff ’s Office Basic Recruit Training Academy. The group, which also included five military servicemen, was the eighth class to graduate under Evangelidis’ increased hiring standards, which he introduced shortly after taking office.

Since taking office, Evangelidis has made significant changes to the hiring standards in order to professionalize the department. All correctional officer applicants must have, at minimum, an associate’s degree or at least two years of military service. They must also take and pass a written exam, physical fitness test, background check and psychological screening test. Evangelidis has also implemented a policy that prohibits the acceptance of letters of recommendation from politicians, while United States military applicants are given priority status in the hiring process.

“Our new officers have met the highest hiring standards in corrections today and have completed the finest training academy in Massachusetts,” Evangelidis said. “With over 6,200 inmates going through the jail doors each year, we look for the best individuals we can find to make our community a safer place and to ensure the public safety of our citizens. Corrections is a hard job with significant challenges. Our success, although difficult to quantify, will be measured by the crimes that are never committed.”

During the 12-week academy recruits are taught to handle the daily challenges of safely keeping the care, custody, and control of inmates incarcerated at the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction. Classroom topics include legal issues, mental health in a correctional setting, staff/inmate interaction, security/emergency procedures, interpersonal communication skills and use of force regulations.

In addition, instructors use hands-on training to teach defensive tactics, fire safety, use of restraint, searches, driver training, weapons qualification and physical fitness is held daily. Students are also quizzed on policy weekly and recruits must maintain an academic average of at least 70 percent in order to graduate.

Also during the academy, the recruits performed community service serving breakfast at St. John’s Food for the Poor Program in Worcester, as well as running as a unit in the Third Annual On Guard Initiative 5K, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of mental health and suicide prevention among correction officers.

“All 12 of you graduating here today should be very proud, as you have demonstrated hard work and dedication over the past 12 weeks in overcoming the challenges presented,” Evangelidis said. “I look forward to working with each and everyone of you.”

sHERIFF cORRECTION OFFICER
Jonathan Baldwin

Jan 8, 2016

Local K9’s Shelter Me Premiere on PBS Benefits Local Animal Shelters

“The Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association was pleased to provide donations this past week to our local animal shelters including; Sterling Animal Shelter, Worcester Animal Rescue League , Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England, Second Chance Animal Shelter & New England All Breed Rescue. The donations were made possible thanks to our very successful Red Carpet Premiere & Benefit of the PBS series, “Shelter Me – Partners for Life” featuring our own Worcester County Sheriff’s Office K9 Nikita and his remarkable journey from homeless pup to top narcotics detecting K9 at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.” said Evangelidis

“Shelter animals make wonderful pets and incredible law enforcement partners. The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office is proud to have two shelter dogs Nikita and Jaxx, provided by the Sterling Animal Shelter, working hard each day in our narcotics detection unit. In addition, our partnership with the Second Chance Animal Shelter pairs behavioral shelter dogs with our low-risk inmates helping to better prepare those canines for future adoption into loving homes. Both programs involving shelter animals have had a positive impact for all at our correctional facility and we are thrilled to be able to give back to the animal shelter community with the proceeds from our recent benefit.” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.

Worcester Animal Rescue League
Pictured in Photo 1:
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis presents a donation check to the Worcester Animal Rescue League courtesy of the October 20, 2015 Local Premiere & Red Carpet Fundraising Event of “Shelter Me – Partners for Life” which featured Worcester County Sheriff’s Office – Lt. Thomas Chabot, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis & K-9 Nikita held at the Hanover Theatre.
sterling animal
Pictured in Photo 2:
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis presents a donation check to the Sterling Animal Shelter courtesy of the October 20, 2015 Local Premiere & Red Carpet Fundraising Event of “Shelter Me – Partners for Life” which featured
Worcester County Sheriff’s Office – Lt. Thomas Chabot, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis & K-9 Nikita held at the Hanover Theatre.
second chance
Pictured in Photo 3:
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis presents a donation check to the Second Chance Animal Shelter courtesy of the October 20, 2015 Local Premiere & Red Carpet Fundraising Event of “Shelter Me – Partners for Life” which featured Worcester County Sheriff’s Office – Lt. Thomas Chabot, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis & K-9 Nikita held at the Hanover Theatre.
new england all breed
Pictured in Photo 4:
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis presents a donation check to New England All Breed Rescue courtesy of the October 20, 2015 Local Premiere & Red Carpet Fundraising Event of “Shelter Me – Partners for Life” which featured
Worcester County Sheriff’s Office – Lt. Thomas Chabot, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis & K-9 Nikita held at the Hanover Theatre.
cocker spaniel rescue
Pictured in Photo 5:
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis presents a donation check to Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England courtesy of the October 20, 2015 Local Premiere & Red Carpet Fundraising Event of “Shelter Me – Partners for Life” which featured Worcester County Sheriff’s Office – Lt. Thomas Chabot, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis & K-9 Nikita held at the Hanover Theatre.

Oct 11, 2015

A Canine Crime-Fighter’s Star Turn

THE TOP DOG: Nikita joins his partner, Lt. Thomas Chabot, at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon. Adopted from the Sterling THE TOP DOG: Nikita joins his partner, Lt. Thomas Chabot, at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon. Adopted from the Sterling Animal Shelter, Nikita has been working as a drug-sniffing K9. He’ll be appearing in an upcoming episode of the PBS show “Shelter Me.”

 

WEST BOYLSTON — Every day, Nikita gets to work by checking the mail. He moves quickly, inspecting each letter for any unusual smells — ones that indicate the presence of drugs. And then he tells his partner, Lt. Thomas Chabot, which are suspect.

 

According to Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, Nikita is one of the best in the state at sniffing out drugs.

 

It’s impressive, because Nikita, a Puerto Rican native, started his life homeless.

 

And also because he’s a dog.

 

But now he can add something else to his growing résumé: television star.

 

Nikita, adopted for free from Animal Shelter Inc. of Sterling, is featured in an episode of “Shelter Me: Partners for Life,” a PBS series hosted by Jon Hamm that depicts and celebrates shelter pets.

 

“They’re the real deal,” Evangelidis said of the show. “They brought a huge film crew out for three days and filmed our department and really followed Tom (Chabot) around 24/7.”

 

Kim Roy, Evangelidis’ director of external affairs, got a call about two months ago that PBS picked up the episode.
FOUR LEGS ON DUTY: Nikita, a dog adopted from the Sterling Animal Shelter, walks with his partner, Lt. Tom Chabot, of Ashburnham, at the Worcester County

 

 

FOUR LEGS ON DUTY: Nikita, a dog adopted from the Sterling Animal Shelter, walks with his partner, Lt. Tom Chabot, of Ashburnham, at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office on Friday. Nikita will be appearing in an upcoming episode of the PBS show “Shelter Me.”

 

“We really feel honored and proud,” she said.

 

She said the episode focused on Chabot and Nikita checking the mail, visiting a community corrections center in Worcester, greeting kids at Sutton Memorial High School, and back to the animal shelter in Sterling.

 

“He made the rounds,” she said.

 

Evangelidis said it was clear during the Sept. 29 Hollywood premiere that Nikita was the star of the show.

 

And he seemed to know it, too. When the dog saw himself on-screen, he started barking, as if on-cue.

He’s also great for community relations, Evangelidis said. He’s smaller than what many people think of as a typical police dog — a German shepherd, for instance — and so he’s approachable, thereby making Chabot approachable.

 

“It starts a positive conversation,” Evangelidis said.

 

Nikita, a sato, Puerto Rican slang for a mixed-breed dog, is just as effective as any other police dog, Evangelidis and Chabot said.

 

“He’s trained how to work, and he knows he’s going to work” when the collar comes on, Chabot said.

 

As an example, Chabot said a person, if walking into a McDonald’s, would smell hamburgers, grease and fries. But Nikita would smell everything separately: the onions, the pickles, the meat, mustard, ketchup.
That’s how he detects the drugs, he said.

 

“He breaks it all down until he finds an odor that he gets rewarded from. It’s really repetition for him,” Chabot said, who added he gives Nikita food when he successfully finds drugs.

 

Evangelidis said having Nikita has been a big help with their “ongoing, vigilant battle” with people trying to smuggle drugs into correctional facilities. Also, since getting him, people have taken the hint: numbers of positive drug identifications have dropped.

 

“He does a lot for us,” he said.

 

And Chabot said he loves working with Nikita.

 

“In this line of work, there’s very few people who get to do this,” he said. “It’s just such a unique aspect of corrections law enforcement. I feel privileged for him to be the ambassador for this story.”

 

Added Chabot: “I’m honored to work with him. It’s something different every day for him.”

 

On Oct. 20, Worcester’s Hanover Theatre will host the local premiere of their episode of “Shelter Me,” something Evangelidis said he is excited about, because it portrays the people of Worcester County so positively.

 

“We were very lucky to get the Hanover Theatre,” he said.
The event– which starts with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. before the screening at 7 p.m. — is an “open-donation event,” he said, “so you can donate anything you want.”

 

All proceeds benefit area animal shelters, he said.

 

As for Nikita, this will be his second big-time premiere. Has the stardom gone to his head? Chabot couldn’t say.

 

“We’ll see after this next premiere,” he said, laughing.

 

More information is available at www.thehanovertheatre.org/show.

 

1 5 6 7 8 9 62