Billerica Police Receive Grant to Get Impaired Drivers off the Road

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Campaign Kicks Off Extra Patrols During Holidays

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Lt. Commander Ronald Balboni

PrintBillerica, MA – December 6, 2016- The Billerica police will be increasing the number of patrols over the holidays through a special grant from the Highway Safety Division (HSD) of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). The Billerica Police Department will join more than 200 local police departments across the state and the State Police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization.

“Beginning December 9 and continuing into the New Year, you will see stepped up enforcement watching closely for anyone who is driving impaired,” said Chief Dan Rosa. “We are taking a zero tolerance approach to impaired driving this holiday season to keep our roads safe for all motorists.”

“Drivers who will be celebrating this holiday season should plan for a sober ride home before they go out,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the Highway Safety Division. “We want all drivers to remember the responsibility they have to drive safely and to avoid getting behind the wheel if they’re impaired. Crashes caused by an impaired driver are preventable.”

Nationally, nearly one in three people (29 percent) were killed last year in motor vehicle crashes in which alcohol was a factor, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Tips for motorists:

• Plan for a sober ride home before celebrating this holiday season. Use a ride sharing or taxi service, the MBTA, or a designated driver if you will be consuming alcohol and then travelling.
• If someone you know has been drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. Take their keys, take them home, or help them arrange a safe way home.
• Stay in control by wearing your seat belt on every trip. Seat belts keep drivers behind the wheel in a crash.
• Stay off your devices when driving.

***Media Note***

To view the Highway Safety Division’s (HSD) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” :15 and :30 TV spots in English and Spanish, please visit www.mass.gov/drivesober.

Billerica Man Arraigned for Assault that Leaves Woman in Critical Condition

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For immediate release: November 14, 2016
For more information contact: (781) 897-8325

LOWELL – District Attorney Marian Ryan and Billerica Chief of Police Daniel Rosa have announced that Jesse Fillerup, 24, of Billerica, was arraigned today in Lowell District Court and charged with assault with intent to murder, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and assault and battery on a household or family member in connection with an alleged incident that took place on Thursday, November 10.

Judge Thomas Brennan ordered the defendant held without bail pending an evidentiary hearing for a 58A dangerousness hearing scheduled for Monday, November 21.

At approximately 8:45 p.m. on November 10, Billerica Police responded to a 911 call requesting an ambulance on Rogers Street in Billerica that was allegedly placed by the defendant. Upon arrival, authorities discovered a 26-year-old female, who is known to the defendant, suffering from serious head injuries allegedly inflicted by the defendant. The victim was taken to a local-area hospital where she remains in critical condition.

These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Chris Tarrant.

Billerica Police Seek Suspect Involved in Assault on Officer

Update – Arrested 11/5/16

BILLERICA — The Billerica Police Department is actively seeking two men in connection with alleged drug use and assault on a police officer on Friday evening.

ERIC OBLENIS, AGE 28, OF BILLERICA, is wanted for Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon to wit a Motor Vehicle and Operating to Endanger after he allegedly struck and dragged a Billerica police officer with a motor vehicle while the officer was seeking to question him in connection with suspicious activity in the area. OBLENIS is known to police.

On Friday, Nov. 4, at approximately 7:41 p.m., two Billerica police officers were investigating suspicious activity in the parking lot of a Rite Aid, located at 467 Boston Rd.

As one of the officers approached a parked van, he observed the driver of the vehicle to be injecting a substance into his arm. When the driver, believed to be OBLENIS, saw the officer, he allegedly threw the needle on the floor of the vehicle and accelerated in reverse, striking the officer.
The officer was dragged by the arm for approximately 15 feet before he fell and the vehicle drove out of the parking lot, heading southbound on Boston Road. OBLENIS is a white male with a slender build. He was last seen wearing a red flat-brim baseball hat and a red sweatshirt.

The vehicle is a green 1999 Dodge Ram Van with Rhode Island license plate IY888.

The officer was treated for injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening.

Prior to the interaction with the driver of the van, officers observed another individual exit the Rite Aid and enter the passenger side of the vehicle. This individual was inside the vehicle at the time of the incident and is being sought for questioning only. A surveillance photo of the passenger inside the Rite Aid is included here.

Anyone with information about the whereabouts of either individual involved in this incident should immediately contact Billerica Police at 978-667-1212.

District Attorney Ryan and Alternative House Host Domestic Violence Training for Cosmetology Students at Shawsheen Regional Technical High School

Cut It Out Middlesex Program Teaches Students and Salon Professionals How to Recognize Signs of Domestic Violence

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BILLERICA –Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan today hosted a training for cosmetology students at Shawsheen Regional Technical High School as part of her anti-domestic violence initiative Cut It Out Middlesex. The Cut It Out program teaches cosmetology students and salon professionals how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and explains resources available to help victims of abuse.

Today’s training was hosted in partnership with the Alternative House, a Lowell based Domestic Violence organization that provides shelter, support, options, counseling and legal advocacy for all victims of domestic violence, and their children who seek help.

Participants in Cut It Out Middlesex learn how to spot signs of domestic violence and how to safely refer clients to local community service providers. The program introduces and aligns participants with domestic violence service agencies as well as domestic violence officers from local police departments. Billerica Police School Resource Officer Brian West was also in attendance for the training.

Cut It Out Middlesex started at local vocational and technical high school training programs to create awareness around the issue of domestic violence at the earliest stage of students’ professional development. To date, the program has trained approximately 1,600 cosmetology students and licensed salon professionals across the county.

The Cut It Out program was conceived and first implemented in 2002 in Alabama and has become the national program of the Salons Against Domestic Abuse Fund, which is dedicated to mobilizing salon professionals and others to recognize signs of abuse and to fight the epidemic of domestic violence in communities across the United States.

For more information or to inquire about how to bring Cut It Out Middlesex training to your salon, contact the Office of Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan at 781-897-8300.

Meghan Kelly
Director of Communications
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan
Meghan.Kelly@state.ma.us
Office: 781-897-8340
Cell: 857-270-0559

Middlesex County law enforcement agencies join White House’s Data-Driven Justice Initiative

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BILLERICA, MA. – The leaders of more than a dozen Middlesex County law enforcement agencies today announced they have formally joined the White House-led Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative, focused on reducing the number of mentally ill individuals awaiting trial in local jails.Middlesex County law enforcement agencies join White House’s Data-Driven Justice Initiative

“In June 2016, we launched the Data-Driven Justice (DDJ) Initiative to support communities who want to use data to be smarter about diverting people with mental illness away from the criminal justice system and into community based treatment,” said U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil.  “We are excited that DDJ has grown to include over 120 diverse communities across the country, reaching more than 90 million individuals.”

Nationwide, 64 percent of those being held in local jails suffer from mental illness, while 68 percent have a substance use disorder.

Announcing their participation today are the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and the Arlington, Ashland, Bedford, Billerica, Boxborough, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Dracut, Lowell, North Reading, Reading, Tewksbury and Watertown Police Departments.  The Holliston, Hopkinton and Sherborn Police Departments will also participate through collaboration with Ashland.

“Today, 46 percent of those entering our custody report a history of mental illness and 75 percent of those under the care of our mental health staff also suffer from a co-occuring substance use disorder,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.  “The Obama Administration’s emphasis on diverting low-level offenders away from incarceration and towards treatment could not have come at a more crucial time for our office.  The DDJ initiative will provide resources to better safeguard our communities, while increasing public safety by getting people the community-based care they need.”

“Police-led diversion programs have shown remarkably success and continued promise as municipal police officers address the challenges of mental illness and addiction,” said Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan.  “By diverting these vulnerable members of our communities in the appropriate programs instead of jail cells, we lesson the strain on the criminal justice system while giving people the best possible chance to retake their lives.”

“Mental health is one of the most common challenges faced by law enforcement officers and first responders, and it is incumbent upon us to help break the cycle of incarceration that too often exacerbates many of the problems faced by our residents,” said Ashland Police Chief Craig Davis.

“Here in Middlesex County, we are very fortunate to have law enforcement agencies that work closely and progressively on issues that affect our community members. Here in Bedford, we have worked closely with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office and our neighboring cities and towns to put forward initiatives that will make a real difference in the battles against mental illness and substance abuse,” said Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno. “I am proud that the White House is committed to this mission.”

“A proactive and community-based approach to the challenges of mental health, hoarding, and drug abuse is promising, and it is nothing new in Middlesex County. We have demonstrated that outreach and community policing policies improve outcomes for the community members we interact with and reduce call volume to already taxed police and fire departments,” said Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa. “I am grateful to the President for taking on this vital issue.”

“The cycle of incarceration has proven itself ineffective, and diversion the answer in many cases. But diversion and intervention start in the community, where our officers are walking and interacting with the public each and every day,” said Boxborough Police Chief Warren Ryder. “We are committed to working with our partners to help those suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, and it is encouraging to find support at the highest levels of our federal government.”

“We are proud to be among the participating law enforcement agencies in Middlesex County and New England leading the way in this important work,” said Cambridge Police Commissioner Christopher J. Burke. “By joining both the Data-Driven Justice and Police Data initiatives, the Cambridge Police Department remains committed to increasing its transparency with data, policies, and procedures and advancing the innovative solutions we offer with our community partners to best serve vulnerable populations.”

“We have seen that mental illness and drug addiction go hand-in-hand, and these epidemics recognize neither race, nor wealth, nor gender. Law enforcement partners across Massachusetts are dedicated to finding better solutions than prison and incarceration for these people, and we recognize that data plays a tremendous role here. This is a necessary initiative, and I applaud the federal government for getting involved,” said Chelmsford Police Chief James Spinney.

“By diverting low level offenders with mental health/substance abuse into appropriate outpatient care options; we can significantly lessen stigmatizing those needing treatment as criminal offenders, reduce unnecessary expensive emergency room visits, and decrease volatile situations that pose significant risk to these populations. When left untreated a person’s behavior is exacerbated over time and often results in crisis situations involving the police, many of which end tragically. “said Interim Dracut Police Chief Neil Ouellette.

“I am proud to stand with my partners in Middlesex County and across the country in supporting a smart, data-driven initiative aimed at improving the quality of life of some of our most valuable residents,” said North Reading Police Chief Michael Murphy. “By using nationwide best practices and effectively using the vast sums of data at our fingertips, those of us on the front lines can be better equipped to respond to the mental health and addiction crises that our nation faces.

“Municipal police are committed to assisting our residents suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, but while we respond to the challenges presented to us, we are simply not funded or equipped to handle them alone,” said Reading Police Chief Mark Segalla. “That is what makes today’s announcement so important. The support of our partners on the county, state, and federal end is vital.”

“Despite organizational philosophical changes, best efforts, additional training, the application of best known and available practices that include strong partnerships with all the local treatment programs/providers, the courts, correctional facilities, the District Attorney’s Office, and area nonprofit organizations the current mental health and opioid crisis continues to intensify,” said Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan.  “We recognize we cannot arrest and incarcerate our way out of this crisis and that participation in programs/partnerships such as the White House-led Data Driven Justice Initiative will only increase our chances of stymieing the progress of these diseases that bring families and communities to their knees. We look forward to working with this progressive group to develop best practices, training, and solutions.”

“The Watertown Police Department is excited to work in collaboration with our law enforcement partners to better serve our entire population,” said Chief Michael Lawn.  “We are committed to finding more effective ways in handling such important social issues through the DDJ Initiative.”

Today’s announcement comes as President Obama is in Pittsburgh for the White House Frontiers Conference, which is focusing in part on DDJ and disrupting the cycle of incarceration.  DDJ seeks to reduce unnecessary pre-trial incarceration by enhancing the use of new and existing data, and by helping spread best practices.

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Contact
Kevin Maccioli (MSO)
Public Information Officer
781-960-2805

Agency Media Contacts:
Cambridge Police
Jeremy Warnick – 617-349-3237

Tewksbury Police
Chief Timothy Sheehan – 978-851-7373

Watertown Police
Lt. James O’Connor – 617-972-6539

Arlington, Ashland, Bedford, Billerica, Boxborough, Chelmsford, Dracut, North Reading & Reading
John Guilfoil – 617-993-0003