Crime Prevention Tops As Early Begins 4th Term
WORCESTER -- District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. took the oath of office for the fourth time last Thursday and said he plans to continue his focus on crime prevention in his new term. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that during my 12 years in office is that we’ve had a 57 percent reduction in juvenile crime,” Early said after his swearing in. “That happened by working together with all of our partners. I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with all of our community partners over the next four years.”
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito administered Early’s oath of office at Jacob Hiatt Magnet Elementary School in Worcester.
Early highlighted many of the office’s prevention programs that are presented to schools across Worcester County, including an anti-bullying and cyber safety program, an evidence-based program concerning opioids for middle school students “This Is (Not) About Drugs,” and a texting and driving program for high school juniors and seniors.
The office also offers other educational programming to parents and senior centers focused on prescription medication safety and scams and frauds.
Early has also expanded the use of drug forfeiture funds for prevention efforts by putting the money seized from drug dealers back into the community in ways that support youth programming to keep kids busy around responsible adults and out of trouble.
“I’m also looking forward to continuing the work we’ve been doing to address the opioid epidemic,” Early said. “Our Opioid Task Force is more than 400 members strong and we’re constantly looking at new and innovative ways to address this issue, which claims hundreds of lives every year in Worcester County.”
Recently, the office received a grant to expand a drug diversion program offered in Leominster, Gardner and Winchendon to additional courts in Clinton, Fitchburg and Milford. This program is one of several diversion programs offered by the District Attorney’s office. It specifically helps those suffering from substance use disorder get the help they need while avoiding a criminal record that could hinder their ability to lead a productive life in recovery.
“I want to thank the voters in Worcester County for allowing me to serve four more years and I’d like to thank my family, my wife Judy, our five children, my mother and my late father, Congressman Joseph D. Early, and the many friends who have supported me and got me started in public service,” Mr. Early said. “I’d also like to thank my staff for continuing to work to uphold our mission to keep our communities safe.”