Sheriff Koutoujian Speaks in DC About Importance of Pell Grants

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian (third from right) recently participated in a public briefing on the proposed restoration of Pell Grant eligibility for justice-involved individuals hosted by Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration. Pictured from left are Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration Senior Counsel Taryn Merkl; former Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections Rick Raemisch; Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration Executive Director Ronal Serpas; Sheriff Koutoujian; Co-Founder and President of the Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Dr. Chris Beasley; and Miea Walker, the Criminal Justice Manager of the Policy and Advocacy Division of Forward Justice. The following information was provided by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office. Peter Koutoujian is a former State Rep who represented parts of Watertown:

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian joined current and former law enforcement leaders for a Capitol Hill briefing Wednesday, September 17, on the importance of restoring Pell Grants and expanding other higher education opportunities for incarcerated students. The event was hosted by Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime & Incarceration, of which Sheriff Koutoujian is a founding member.

Middlesex Sheriff, Sen. Markey Announce Effort to Increase Opioid Treatment in Jails

Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and Sen. Ed Markey spoke about a joint effort to expand opioid treatment in jails. The following information was provided by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office:

Senator Edward J. Markey (D – MA) joined Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian Wednesday for a private roundtable discussion with staff and inmates at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction about efforts to expand opioid treatment in jails. Senator Markey visited Billerica to discuss the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office nationally recognized Medication Assisted Treatment And Directed Opioid Recovery (MATADOR) program and talk about his recently filed Community Re-Entry through Addiction Treatment to Enhance (CREATE) Opportunities Act.  The bipartisan CREATE Opportunities Act, which has been endorsed by both the Major County Sheriffs of America and the National Sheriffs’ Association, would authorize the creation of a federally funded grant program allowing local jurisdictions to provide access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in correctional facilities. “We were honored to have Senator Markey visit and meet with those directly impacted by this crisis and who will most benefit from the critical, bipartisan legislation he has filed,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “The Senator has been a true leader and partner in efforts to identify and support initiatives like our MATADOR program to tackle the opioid crisis.  Passage of this legislation would benefit jurisdictions large and small across the country and greatly enhance our capabilities as we prepare for the expanded MAT pilot here in the Commonwealth.”

Since the launch of MATADOR in the fall of 2015, 82 percent of participants who successfully completed six months in the program have not recidivated and 96 percent of all participants – regardless of whether they had completed the program – had not succumbed to a fatal post-release overdose. “Our county jails are an indispensable partner in ending the opioid overdose crisis once and for all,” said Senator Markey.

Watertown Youths Learn What It’s Like to be a Firefighter

A cadet in the Middlesex Youth Public Safety Academy uses the fire hose as at Saltonstall Park. Holding tightly to a real fire hose, a young camper from the Middlesex Sheriff’s Youth Public Safety Academy shot a wide stream of water hundreds of feet across the field at Saltonstall Park on Wednesday morning. The Watertown Fire Department welcomed 31 youngsters from town to show them what it is like to be a firefighter. The campers are part of the week-long summer camp, and later in the day they stopped by the Watertown Police Station to learn about what police officers do. Watertown Fire Capt. Bob Power helps a camper use a fire hose.

Middlesex Sheriff Receives Money to Expand Youth Public Safety Academy

The following information was provided by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office:

Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian today announced the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) has been awarded nearly $3,700 from Attorney General Maura Healey’s Healthy Summer Youth Jobs Grant Program to help support the MSO’s 20th Annual Youth Public Safety Academy (YPSA). “We are grateful to Attorney General Healey for providing this funding which allows us to hire an additional counselor and expand the number of cadets we are able to accept into this year’s YPSA,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “Not only does this grant provide an opportunity for more cadets to participate in this program, but also for a young adult to work in an environment where they can mentor younger neighbors.”

YPSA is a series of six, one-week long camps designed for children ages 8-12 who live in Middlesex County. Cadets spend the week with MSO staff as well as police officers and firefighters from their hometown, forming important bonds with their local law enforcement officials. Cadets also participate in classroom and practical activities designed to teach them important public safety skills including a simulated fire safety trailer offered by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, a challenge course held at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Billerica, and demonstrations offered by the MSO and partner agencies. “Our summer jobs program provides young people across the state with an opportunity to challenge themselves and make a difference in their own community,” AG Healey said.

Watertown Helps Collect More than 100 Guns in Sheriff’s Buyback Program

Some of the weapons collected in Watertown and Belmont in the MIddlesex Sheriff’s gun buyback in June. The following information was provided by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office:

One hundred twenty unwanted guns and ammunition were exchanged for gift cards to local stores and restaurants over four Saturdays of the “Safer Homes, Safer Communities” Eastern Middlesex County Regional Gun Buyback initiative, officials announced. The initiative – held June 8-29 – was a collaborative effort of the Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Newton and Watertown police departments, in conjunction with the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office as well as faith- and community-based partners. This was the second regional buyback held in Middlesex County since 2016, with a total of 270 weapons exchanged for gift cards during the two regional initiatives. “I want to thank all our partners for their leadership in this area, and allowing us to continue to support these important community-based efforts,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian. “Offering residents these opportunities to safely remove unwanted and unsecured guns reduces the chances of theft or accidental discharge, making our homes and our communities safer.”

Included among the 120 guns accepted on the days of the events was a loaded .22-caliber pistol in Newton. The individual disposing of the gun was unaware that it was loaded.

Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Gets Grant to Expand Youth Program

A Youth Public Safety Academy cadet salutes a sheriff’s deputy and Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, right. The following information was provided by the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office:

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Youth Public Safety Academy (YPSA) will be able to expand its capacity by as many as 100 cadets this summer thanks to a $23,000 grant from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian announced. “Nearly 1,200 youngsters have applied to YPSA this year, and the continuing success of the camp comes from our terrific partnerships with our fellow law enforcement and government agencies,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.  “Thanks to the Baker Administration and EOPSS, we will be able to hire two extra counselors and purchase the additional equipment necessary to accept 100 more cadets over the course of the summer.  This grant will make a real difference in the lives of these youngsters who may not otherwise be able to attend YPSA.”

This marks the second consecutive year the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) has been awarded the grant through the Commonwealth’s Law Enforcement and Youth Partnerships Summer Day Program.  The initiative, administered by EOPSS, is designed to support summer recreational and educational learning opportunities with local law enforcement. “We are honored to partner with the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office to allow more young people to take part in this valuable program,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco. “Creating strong, positive relationships between law enforcement and the community is a priority for us and one that is clearly shared by Sheriff Koutoujian and his team.”

YPSA is a week-long camp designed for children ages 8-12 who live in Middlesex County.

Watertown Hosting Gun Buyback Event on June 22

An AR-15 assault rifle, in front, was among the weapons brought to Watertown gun buyback on Saturday. The Watertown Police provided the following information:

The Eastern Middlesex County Gun Buy-Back will be held in Watertown on Saturday, June 22 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The event will be at First Parish Church (35 Church St.)

Make our communities even safer by disposing of any unwanted guns! No ID’s will be requested, no questions asked. You’ll receive a gift card for each firearm you turn in and help reduce the risk of suicide, accidental discharge, and domestic violence.

Middlesex Sheriff Warns Residents Should Beware of Jury Duty Scam

The following information was provided by the Middlesex Sheriff’s office:

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office (MSO) is warning residents to be alert for a new round of jury duty scam calls. As part of the scam, callers are posing as members of the MSO and are telling residents they need to resolve matters related to missed court matters and jury duty.  In multiple instances this month – including two this past weekend – scammers identified themselves as a Sgt. Cooper and provided 781-819-5610 as a call back number. On Friday, a local resident was allegedly told he needed to pay $900 or would be arrested, while on Saturday, a woman was told she needed to respond to a specific location to clear up three warrants.  The location to which the woman was told to respond housed actual MSO offices but was closed at the time. 

In all three cases, those who were contacted called the MSO before paying any money or traveling to a location. “Nationwide, these scammers are attempting to use the criminal justice system and the threat of arrest as a tool to frighten people into paying large sums of money,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “We want residents to be aware of these scams and these tactics in order to better protect themselves.”

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a jury duty scam you are encouraged to immediately notify your local police department.  If the scammer claims to be a member of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office we also ask you to contact our office at 978-667-1711.