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.
Sep 16, 2014
Mass. student iris scans entered in national missing person’s database
Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 6:40pm
(NECN: Siobhan Lopez, Worcester, Mass.) – It takes less than a minute to enter a child’s information into a national missing person’s database. All it takes is a photo, some general information like height and weight, and a quick scan of your eyes.
“The eyes don’t lie,” said Lewis Evangelidis, the Worcester City sheriff. “The eyes are the identification.”
It’s a part of Evangelidis’ child ID iris scan program.
The camera captures an up-close look at the iris, which is the colored part of the eye.
The sheriff says the iris is ten times more identifiable than a fingerprint. It’s the one part of the body that will never change.
“Fingerprints wear out, fingerprints can be compromised. Your iris cannot be,” he explained.
Sheriff Evangelidis has been using the program with senior citizens for years. Wednesday was the first time it’s been brought to a public school.
Close to 500 Nelson Place School students lined up to get their picture taken. The students are days away from summer vacation. The sheriff says it’s a perfect time to get their information in the system.
“This iris scan is a national database, so if you travel in the summer and something was to happen, you’d be part of that database in any local law enforcement no matter where you were,” Evangelidis explained.
Evangelidis also uses iris scans at the Worcester County House of Corrections to identify inmates. He calls the technology the next generation of identification, but says it shouldn’t replace traditional child ID kits that use fingerprints.
“You know it’s always good if you’ve got the potential to have a safety kit with fingerprinting. I’d recommend that too,” he said.
Jun 4, 2014
Inmate Matthew McCourt, left, listens as Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis visits a Community Service Program work site at Milford Town Hall Wednesday. Daily News staff Photo/Ken McGagh
By James Sheridan
Daily News Correspondent
Posted May. 29, 2014
MILFORD – A group of uniformed men sat around a table at Town Hall Wednesday morning. The room could hold a few hundred people, but only five sat around the small plastic table set up for lunch.
As they ate, the men joked about their bosses and the series of jobs they recently completed.
However, unlike other groups of co-workers, the men are inmates at the Worcester County House of Corrections and their boss is Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis.
On Wednesday, the four-man crew and a corrections officer came to Milford to lay down mulch at Town Hall, the Senior Center and the Police Station and clean the buildings’ facades. They expect to be in town through Friday.
The crew was requested by Town Administrator Richard Villani, whose only charge for their services was buying lunch. According to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, the program, utilized nine times since 2011, has saved Milford nearly $31,000 in hourly wages.
This crew, one of four, is part of the inmate Community Service Program at Worcester County’s House of Corrections. The program, according to Evangelidis, is “a win-win,” because it saves towns and community organizations money while providing the inmates an opportunity to work and learn skills that can be used upon their release from prison.
Evangelidis, who accomplanied the crew to town, said he is “very proud of these inmates,” because they have earned the right to participate in work crews and “are turning their lives around.”
Andy Gemme, one of the inmates working in Milford this week, said communities are grateful for the work the inmates complete, as many of their jobs are for churches, community centers and town halls.
Corrections Officer Mike Brennen, of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, accompanied the crew and said every inmate who wishes to enter the program is first interviewed by the classification board before being accepted.
Brennen said only inmates who have committed non-violent crimes are accepted.
Jordan Peterson, another of the workers, added that only inmates with “community-friendly crimes,” are eligible for the program.
Peterson, the crew’s newest member, was only on his second day of work, but said the program is one of the best to help rehabilitate inmates.
For Matt McCourt, another crew member, the program has helped him establish a routine that will help him stay away from drugs after he is released. “For me,” he said, “drugs were part of the equation that landed me here.”
McCourt added that for some in the program, the work represents the first time they have held a job, which leads to a schedule that consists of more than waking up and figuring out where to get their next fix.
Inmates, he said, learn marketable skills and it leads them to think, “Hey! I could do this when I get out … instead of drugs.”