Gloucester Police Department and community impact navigator Tito Rodriguez honored for outreach

For immediate release
Members of the Gloucester Police Community Impact Unit with a Synergy Award from the Metro Boston CIT Training & Technical Assistance Center Thursday night. From left to right are Community Navigator Tito Rodriguez, Unit Leader Lt. Jeremiah NiCastro, and School Resource Officer Mike Scola. (Photo courtesy of Gloucester Police Service)

GLOUCESTER – Chief Edward Conley is proud to share that the Gloucester Police Department and Community Impact Unit Community Navigator Tito Rodriguez have been honored by the Metro Boston CIT Training & Technical Assistance Center (MB CIT-TTAC) .

MB CIT-TTAC Director Patricia Contente presented the awards Thursday evening during a ceremony at the Peabody Boston Marriot in Peabody.

“Tito is not just impacting Gloucester, he is impacting the recovery community across the state,” Contente said as he presented the award. “I can’t tell you how many times I hear people, ‘Oh, do you have the list? There’s this guy, Tito, who sends out a list every morning.'”

Rodriguez’s emails list about 300 contacts every day, holidays included. The list details all detox facilities in Massachusetts, as well as the number of beds open that day.

In addition to the individual recognition Rodriguez deserved, the Gloucester Police Service was honored with a Synergy Award which recognized the service’s collaborative work to implement the training and philosophies of the Case Response Team. crisis management and outreach to community members affected by behavioral health issues.

“The willingness to partner with organizations from all systems has made Gloucester a leader and model for the positive effects of an integrated approach to public health and public safety. Gloucester PD exemplifies the synergy departments should strive for,” the award says.

“Our community is beyond grateful to have Tito Rodriguez serve in the Gloucester Police Service’s Community Impact Unit,” said Unit Leader Lt. Jeremiah Nicastro. “I have never seen someone so respected, hardworking and compassionate in our community. I am lucky to have Tito in our team.

The Community Impact Unit (UIC) was established in February 2020, seeking to expand the work of the Angel Program to provide support and resources to anyone struggling with addiction, mental health issues or homelessness . Departmental school resource officers are part of the unit and strive to build positive relationships with students.

As a community navigator, Rodriguez has had thousands of interactions with community members connecting them to drug addiction, recovery assistance, Narcan training and distribution, legal and employment resources. and housing assistance.

“In just over two years of operation, the Community Impact Unit has exceeded even the high expectations I had when we created and the unit. I couldn’t be more proud of the work they’ve done,” said Chief Conley. “Our entire department and the City of Gloucester are committed to using a collaborative multi-agency approach to provide support, understanding and resources to all members of the community, and Tito Rodriguez and the unit of community impact are the keystone of this strategy.”

“Tito is such a respected and valued member of our community and of the Gloucester Police Service’s Community Impact Unit,” said Mayor Greg Verga. “His dedication and passion are remarkable; it is a well-deserved recognition.

Rodriguez is also featured in a documentary created by MB CIT-TTAC which premiered at the awards ceremony on Thursday night. “The COHR Solution: A Community Response to a Fragmented System” will be available on the MB CIT-TTAC website next week.

Rodriguez moved from New York to New England in 1976 and ran a social service agency in the area until alcohol and drug abuse caught up with him. “I ran a local agency for a while, and went from there to living in the weeds and hollows in South Boston,” Rodriguez said. “It was a quick drop.”

Rodriguez has been recovering since May 19, 1982. He will celebrate 40 years of sobriety later this month.

Rodriguez was raised by his grandparents, who taught him from an early age that it was important to give back to the community. When Rodriguez got sober, a big part of the 12-step program that helped him was serving as a mentor and helping others seek sobriety, so he was active in the recovery community for decades.

Rodriguez worked as a diversion coordinator for the Lynn Police Department and with the Gloucester Angel Initiative and the Police-Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative before Chief Conley shared his vision for a unit of community impact, which led to Rodriguez joining the Gloucester Police Department as a community. Browser in 2020.

“I really believe that law enforcement can play a role in what they do, and the unit we have really tries to do that in different ways. I happen to be the person who looks after the homeless and drug addicts,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s a good model and something that should be replicated.”

He thinks his life experience helps him connect more quickly with other people who are struggling like him.

“I know what it’s like to be desperate and helpless, so when I talk to other addicts, I can relate, and look into their eyes and see their pain, but they can look me in the eye. and see that there is hope,” Rodriguez said.

Anyone wishing to donate to the work of the Community Impact Unit should send a check made out to The Gloucester Fund to the Community Impact Unit, 67 Middle St., Unit 25, Gloucester, MA 01930.

To learn more about the Metro Boston CIT Training & Technical Assistance Center and other winners, visit:

Gloucester Police Community Navigator Tito Rodriguez with his wife LynnLee and daughter Gabriella. (Photo courtesy of Gloucester Police Service)

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