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October 26, 2007

CONTACT: Steve Tompkins
(617) 961-6650


Members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department recently teamed with the City of Boston Inspectional Services Department in an effort to secure several houses suspected of drug activity on Hendry Street in Dorchester.

A crew from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Community Works Program (CWP) spent a few days in the community boarding up windows and sealing entryways to four partially– and fully–vacated houses in which crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia were found.

The CWP is a program for low-risk inmates at the Suffolk County House of Correction who have received vocational training in areas including landscaping and ground maintenance, painting and building maintenance, and carpentry. Under strict officer supervision, these inmates are taken into Suffolk County to use the skills they have learned to make improvements in public spaces. The goal of the program is to reduce recidivism by teaching inmates to become employable citizens upon release.

In recent months Hendry Street, and the surrounding area, has been the target of law enforcement efforts to stem the tide of gang and drug activity in the neighborhood. As homes are seized and vacated, they are boarded and sealed by CWP crews to ensure that they remain empty until new homeowners can be found. A recent article printed in the September 27th edition of the Dorchester Reporter, entitled “What The Bubble Left Behind,” details some of the local issues surrounding the vacated properties.

For Al Denson, Director of Project Pride – the program pairing the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and the City of Boston – such efforts are critical to maintaining the health and safety of community residents.

“It’s important to do what we can do to stabilize this neighborhood,” said Denson. “It’s teetering right now and we have to push it in the right direction and help improve the quality of life here.”

Citing one of the most crucial elements to these ends, Denson lauded the efforts of Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral.

“I want to put the word out about what the Sheriff is bringing to the community,” Denson said. “The Sheriff has been great in sending the CWP crews out here into the community time after time. She’s really shown a commitment to using her resources to help in the community in whatever ways that she can.”

Echoing similar sentiments about the Sheriff’s Department, Chris McNally of the city Inspectional Services Department singled out CWP supervisor Sergeant Robert Griffin for praise.

“I love working with Griff,” McNally said. “He gives you 110% every time. He does his job better than anyone else we’ve had out here. I think he’s just an asset to the department.”

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