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July 24, 2009

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department “Safety Tips For Kids” coloring book, crayons, and Junior Deputy Badges.

Recently, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department lent a helping hand in support of local events that took place over the span of a weekend within three neighborhoods of Suffolk County.

The Sheriff’s Department deployed officers and civillian staff to Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Mattapan to administer the Ident-A-Youth fingerprint program and distribute the Department’s Safety Tips Coloring books and crayons, along with Junior Deputy Badges for youths attending the events.

Kicking off the weekend, Department employees visited Walker Park in Mattapan on Saturday, July 18th for the “Scoops & Hoops” basketball tournament and community cookout sponsored by non profit organization Youth In Crisis. Staffing a table during the tournament, Sandy Zamor-Calixte – Coordinator of Community Outreach and Youth Programs – talked about the importance of the event and the Department’s involvement.

“The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department is always glad to give its support to events like this one,” said Zamor-Calixte. “Promoting peace and safety in the community is one of the Department’s external missions, so we’re glad to be here to give our support.”

While the primary focus of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department remains the care, custody, and control of inmates and detainees at the House of Correction and the Nashua Street Jail, the Department – under the direction of Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral – has embraced the significant role that it can play within the communities of Suffolk County with respect to crime prevention and public safety.

Resuming this role on Sunday, July 19th, Sheriff’s Department officers manned a table in Jamaica Plain’s Stony Brook Park as part of the Dominican Health Fair, which focused on topics related to Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week as well as the need to communicate on a greater scale about the services that are available to the general public.

“As an institution, we have a lot of resources to offer the community and, most likely, the residents don’t really know about them,” said Josephine Santana, Program Coordinator for the Boston Public Health Commission Lead Prevention Program. “We have different agencies that bring literature and brochures to provide new information and education for the community.”

According to Santana, the goal of disseminating useful information and services to the community is eased by the particiption of such volunteer organizations as the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.

“The volunteers are definitely needed because without them, the job cannot be done,” Santana said. “The fingerprinting program that the Sheriff’s Department provides is crucial in this day and age. It can sometimes be hard to trust people with the safety of our children, and this is just a small precautionary measure to be on the safe side. The Department also offers wonderful services within their institution that many in the community are not aware of.”

The Area B-2 event at Brigadier General Edward O. Gourdin Park in Roxbury featured free food and a number of family friendly events but, like the other events attended by the Department, the Area B-2 Youth and Family Safety Day was also designed to provide children and their parents with valuable information with attention paid to personal safety, avoiding drugs and gang violence, pedestrian safety, home safety, and a variety of other topics.

Speaking about the Department’s involvment in the weekend’s activities and the multitude of others that have been attended throughout the summer, Deputy Justin Plaza said, “It’s nice to be able to come out for a good cause and interact with other members of the community. Helping kids learn to become more safety conscious and respectful of each other is something that we take special pride in at the Sheriff’s Department.”

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