| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – The Hampden County District’s Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts National Guard have entered into a new partnership in the fight against opioids that may provide a model for other communities not just across the Commonwealth but the nation as well.
On Dec. 4, District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and Major Gen. Scott Rice formally finalized the agreement with the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will place a member of the National Guard permanently in the DA’s office.
Gulluni said the new relationship is “an important tool against addiction.”
Rice explained the Guard has a “Counterdrug” program in the state that interacts with federal law enforcement agencies. This will be the first time the program will be attached to a district attorney’s office.
Gulluni explained the new role is “not part of the traditional idea of the National Guard.
The presence of the National Guard in the DA’s office will “connect all the players” – meaning the DA’s office, the State Police and federal law enforcement.
Although reluctant to reveal too many details, the two men explained the National Guard member assigned to the office would be involved in intelligence analysis and geo-mapping among other activities.
Rice said the Guard member would have “the strength of culture we bring from the military.” He added the new addition to the DA’s staff would “break down the silos of excellence.”
This is not the first time the Massachusetts National Guard has interacted with law enforcement in the Commonwealth. Rice noted the Guard has been involved with the Drug Enforcement Administration in Worcester and with the State Police in Maynard.
“The district attorney is the piece that make sit a little bit different,’ Rice said.
Gulluni sad the addition of the Guard in his office is an addition and not a replacement for other personnel.
Rice said the involvement of the Guard on this local level is “a national precedent setting event.”