Becca Bradburd, Linda Strassell, Janis Broderick, David Capeless, and Mike Murphy at the Verizon Wireless Store on Hubbard Avenue on Thursday.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With today's technology it can be pretty easy to track someone down. When it comes to domestic abuse victims, Verizon wants to make sure that isn't the case.
Each year, Verizon donates boxes of secure cell phones to the Elizabeth Freeman Center to give to victims — getting them off the family plan and onto a secured line.
"The Hopeline gives us a safe phone to give folks so they can call for help or call for services," Elizabeth Freeman Center Executive Director Janis Broderick.
"They really do save lives. We give out at least 100 phones per year."
The phones given to the center is part of the company's 'Hopeline' program. On Thursday, District Attorney David Capeless turned over hundreds of old cell phones to the company. Verizon will now recycle the parts and use the proceeds to send new phones and a cash donation to the Freeman Center. The new phones are all stocked with minutes and texts for victims to use.
We couldn't do these grants or Hopeline phones without the community's help," said Verizon spokesman Mike Murphy. "Through the revenues we generate fro this program we can give grants to our partners."
In its 10th year, Verizon gifted the Freeman Center a $5,000 check. Broderick says that'll go to support the organization's 24-hour emergency services. That response gives families whatever emergency needs the family has at the time. Broderick said the needs vary on a case by case basis.
"We're confident our resources are being put to good use," Murphy said.
The money is generated from Capeless' collections in which hundreds of old cell phones are collected and shipped to the company. Capeless said the partnership among the three agencies isn't just finances but the collection process sheds light on the problem of domestic abuse.
"It reminds them that this is an ongoing issue," Capeless said.
He credited Verizon with putting in the effort to make it happen because "for Verizon this is not simply a public relations event" but a program requiring a significant amount of work.
"This is such a great program," the district attorney said.
Broderick said the Elizabeth Freeman Center operates on a "bare bones" budget so it relies on community partners like Verizon and the district attorney's office.
"I think our partnerships in Berkshire County make our work more effective," she said.
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DA Clears Trooper in Fatal Hancock Shooting
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
District Attorney Timothy Shugrue says the results of an autopsy by the medical examiner will not change his findings, which are based on the video and witnesses. With him are State Police Lts. Chris Bruno and Ryan Dickinson and First Assistant District Attorney Marianne Shelvey.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — District Attorney Timothy Shugrue has determined that State Police Trooper William Munch acted in compliance during what is being described as a "suicide by cop" earlier this month.
On Sept. 9, 64-year-old Phillip Henault reportedly placed a fictitious 911 call about an ongoing violent assault. Body-camera footage from the trooper shows the man advancing on him with two knives before being shot twice and collapsing in the street in front of his Richmond Road residence.
"Mr. Henault was actively using deadly force against law enforcement. There were no other objectively reasonable means that the trooper could have employed at the time in order to effectively protect himself and anyone that was in the home or the public. By virtue of his duties as a police officer, the trooper did not have the obligation to run away from Mr. Henault," Shugrue said during a press conference on Friday.
"Mr. Henault posed an active threat to the trooper and to the public. The trooper had a duty to arrest Mr. Henault who was engaged in various felonies. His arm was an active threat."
The DA determined that Munch's decision to fire his weapon at Henault under the circumstances was a "lawful and reasonable exercise of self-defense and defense of others" compliance with the policies of the State Police and commonwealth law, clearing the trooper of criminal charges and closing the investigation.
The lethal force was labeled as an "unavoidable last resort."
A preliminary autopsy determined the unofficial cause of death was two gunshot wounds to the torso with contributing factors of wounds to the wrists that were inflicted by Heneault. The final report from the medical examiner has not been issued.
Fixed in front of the Pittsfield Police Station, the statue honors thirteen former K9s dating back to 1976. Blue roses were placed for each pup next to the bronze Shepard that sits proudly on top.
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