Local Social Security Offices To Continue Benefit Letters

The Social Security Administration announces local Social Security offices will continue to provide benefit verification letters until further notice.

“We appreciate the feedback from members of Congress, our community stakeholders and agency partners. We want to ensure that we meet the needs of our customers in a way that is convenient for them and also cost-effective and secure for all,” Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said. “I believe that government agencies can work closer together to assist our mutual customers.”

Over the last few years, Social Security has invested in technology that allows most government agencies and many other organizations to verify their clients’ Social Security benefits electronically without requiring them to visit a local Social Security office.

“We recognize that some members of the public may require in-person assistance and we will have a presence in local communities,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin. “We also want to ensure that the public is aware that they can access many of our services without making a trip to a local field office.”

Members of the public with Internet access can obtain benefit verification information by creating a my Social Security account atwww.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.

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EZPass Customers Warned Of Probable E-Mail Phishing Scam

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) E-ZPass program is alerting E-ZPass customers about an e-mail phishing scam.

Some E-ZPass customers in Massachusetts and other states have received an e-mail from “E-ZPass Customer Service Center” with the subject, “Payment for driving on toll road.”

According to the DOT, this is not a communication from E-ZPass, but is likely a phishing scam.  E-ZPass advises not to open or respond to that message.

For information about the validity of any message received from E-ZPass, contact the E-ZPass Customer Service Center for guidance at Telephone: 1-877-627-7745.

To check out your E-ZPass account visit: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/highway/TrafficTravelResources/EZPassMAProgram.aspx


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Sheriff Announces New Twitter Page

Norfolk County Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti announces the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office has created its very own Twitter page.

Twitter is a free-of-charge social networking service which allows individuals and organizations to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets.” Since its founding in 2006, Twitter has become one of the world’s most popular websites with an impressive following of 255 million active monthly users.

The newly launched page actively tweets and “retweets,” or recycles, information on topics of interest for Norfolk County residents and the public safety community.

“Twitter is a great opportunity for members of the community and beyond to stay up-to-date on internal news and join the conversation on public safety initiatives and news in our communities,” Bellotti said.

All Norfolk County residents and members of the public safety community who are interested in reading tweets from the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office may visit and/or “follow” the page by searching for @NorfolkSheriff on Twitter.com.

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Morrissey Seeks Seniors Help Against Opiate Abuse

Norfolk County District Attorney MIchael Morrissey told seniors they can play an important role in fighting opiate abuse at a recent event.  Seniors, he said, can limit access to ensure their medication doesn't fall into the wrong hands and use their stature as grandparents to held out their grandchildren.

Norfolk County District Attorney MIchael Morrissey told seniors they can play an important role in fighting opiate abuse at a recent event. Seniors, he said, can limit access to ensure their medication doesn’t fall into the wrong hands and use their stature as grandparents to held out their grandchildren. Photos Courtesy David Traub/Norfolk DA’s Office.

Senior citizens have at least two very important roles to play as Massachusetts grapples with soaring levels of opiate addiction and related crime, Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey told participants in a regional Senior Summit recently.

“First, we know that too many opiate addictions grow out of pills taken from home medicine cabinets by family or visitors,” Morrissey said. “Seniors can do a great service by bringing pills they no longer need to their police station for safe disposal.

“There are no-questions-asked disposal kiosks in 25 county police stations, including Dedham, Milton, Braintree and Quincy.”

The district attorney also asked the group to use their stature as grandparents.

“Your grandchildren want to hear from you more than you know – you can help guide them without the friction that can be part of parent conversations,” Morrissey said. “Simple messages: Just because a doctor prescribed it to one person, doesn’t mean it is safe for another. The risk of short term harm and the long term consequences of misused pharmaceuticals are in fact very acute.”

The June 17 regional Senior Summit was hosted by Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton and Fuller Village in Milton in partnership with Morrissey. The audience was comprised of elders and officials from Milton, Quincy, Braintree and Dedham – including Quincy’s John Aiello and Jim McCarthy, longtime city resident – and North Quincy High classmate of DA Morrissey’s parents – who now resides at Fuller Village.

Remarks from Peter J. Healy, president and CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess – Milton and Deborah Felton, executive director of Fuller Village were followed by “Detection and Coping Strategies for Depression,” presented by Nurse Practitioners Maureen O’Shea and Barbara Pinchera, who are also associate professors at Curry College.

“Experience shows us that when seniors become isolated or infirm, that is when they are more likely to become targets for people looking to take advantage or other kinds of problems,” Morrissey said. “Working with BI Deaconess Hospital and organizations like Fuller to focus on wellness, on staying connected and staying strong is a natural partnership for us.”

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey (left) hosted the conference in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton and Fuller Village in Milton.  With him are Fuller Village Executive Director Deborah Felton and BIDH - Milton President Peter J. Healy.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey (left) hosted the conference in partnership with Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Milton and Fuller Village in Milton. With him are Fuller Village Executive Director Deborah Felton and BIDH – Milton President Peter J. Healy.

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Court, Police, DA Implement New Security Measures At Probate, Family Court

Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Angela Ordonez, First Justice John Casey, District Attorney Michael Morrissey and Register of Probate Patrick McDermott, together at center right, met with Canton Police Chief Kenneth Berkowitz and Chief Court Officer Patricia Bellotti, 2nd and 4th from left, and other officials last week to roll out enhanced security for the court.

Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court Angela Ordonez, First Justice John Casey, District Attorney Michael Morrissey and Register of Probate Patrick McDermott, together at center right, met with Canton Police Chief Kenneth Berkowitz and Chief Court Officer Patricia Bellotti, 2nd and 4th from left, and other officials last week to roll out enhanced security for the court.

Judges, court officers, trial court security officials, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey and local police met this week to roll out a battery of improved security measures for the Norfolk County Probate and Family Court seen as a possible model for other courts.

Massachusetts Court Officers, who maintain order and escort defendants in custody from holding cells into courtrooms, have always been unarmed. “Unlike district and superior courts, the family court is not usually host to armed police officers conducting court business,” Morrissey said.

“It is a place where people’s marriages dissolve, access to their children is at stake, assets are divided, where people face the most volatile moments of their lives,” Morrissey said.  Canton Police Chief Kenneth Berkowitz, who also attended, said that his department responds to some problem at the Shawmut Road courthouse about once each week.

New security measures include:

• ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) active shooter training;

• METRO-LEC (Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council) Security assessment and tool kit including pre-planned crisis staging areas for medical, police, family, press, etc., maps of facility for first responders entering the facility;

• Body Armor for selected court security personnel;

• Radio connection to local police departments so court officers can have direct communication with Canton PD if an incident occurs in Canton, Dedham PD if incident occurs at Superior of Dedham District, etc.

• Part of ALICE suggestions implemented include improved PA and radio communication abilities within the courthouse in case of emergency.

First Justice John Casey credited his predecessor, Judge Angela Ordonez, for initiating the pilot court security program, particularly in light of deadly incidents at similar courts across the country. He added that “District Attorney Morrissey has been great in terms of resources and assistance.”

Chief Court Officer Patricia Bellotti sent five court officers to a two-day active shooter response training in 2013 that District Attorney Morrissey sponsored, primarily for Norfolk County school systems: the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Program. Following that initial training – which stresses preparing for several different potential responses rather than the static “lockdown” often used as a default in major incidents – ALICE was adopted by the Trial Court state-wide.

Morrissey also used drug forfeiture funds to obtain a full safety assessment and incident pre-plan for the courthouse from Metro LEC, the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council. The safety assessment, like those Morrissey funded for one school in each of his communities, details staging areas, provides mapping and logistical information for first responders.

The court project also included establishing direct radio communications between the courts and local police departments, outfitting selected officers with body armor and other steps.

“I think it is laudable that Judge Ordonez, Judge Casey, Chief Bellotti, Register Pat McDermott and the trial court hierarchy have been progressive and open to addressing security shortfalls before they are exploited,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “It is far preferable to come to the probate and family court today to mark this progress than to be responding here with Chief Berkowitz on the other side of a future tragedy. If this becomes the basis for more state-wide improvements, even better.”

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