Round Table Discussion Provides
Substantive Ideas on services for Veterans.
Nick Cocchi and State Representative John Velis vow collaborative effort to help vets in the criminal justice system.
Representative John Velis Endorses Nick Cocchi for Sheriff
(Hampden County, MA) Hampden County Sheriff’s Department Assistant Superintendent and Democratic Nominee for Sheriff Nick Cocchi along with State Representative, Captain John Velis (4th Hampden District), Ludlow Veteran Services Officer Eric Segundo and approximately 25 veterans from different eras of service participated in a Round Table Discussion on issues affecting veterans in the criminal justice system.
The meeting was described by all parties as productive and covered a wide range of topics. Representative Velis, a Captain in the Army Reserves who called the meeting to order, said he was excited to come together to discuss the issue of Veterans and the criminal justice system. “I have a passion for veterans and I’m always looking for opportunities to assist veterans and military members,” said Representative Velis who is an Afghanistan War veteran.
Nick Cocchi discussed his efforts to expand aid for incarcerated Veterans. “I have a strong desire to enhance the current services for our veterans who are currently serving time in our facilities,” said Cocchi. “ Right now the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department has staff that have been certified by the Veterans Affairs and the State of Massachusetts to work with our veterans. It is my plan upon becoming Sheriff to significantly expand staff education and certification,” Cocchi added. “Currently there are many programs and services available to our inmates who have served their country. We at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department want to make sure that all our incarcerated veterans have the greatest exposure to these services,” Said Cocchi.
“An integral component of our overall service to veterans will also be to help provide Veterans Education awareness training to attorneys and court officials about the Veteran Treatment Court and the specifics of the program,” said Cocchi. “Many of these veterans did not benefit from help they needed prior to being arrested,” said Representative Velis. A lot of Veterans, especially combat vets have unique and serious needs stemming from their service to our country. We want to make sure that we are doing all we can to provide these men and women with the very best mental health care and counseling so that the maladies from which so many off them suffer, don’t contribute to addictive and criminal behavior,” Velis added.
Representative Velis also took the time to endorse Nick Cocchi in his race to become Sheriff of Hampden County.
“Nick Cocchi is a true professional in the field of corrections,” said Velis. “His commitment to criminal rehabilitation and to do all he can to stem the tide of addiction is in our community is unmatched. I know Nick is mindful of the serious issues facing our veterans and I am happy to give him my endorsement in this election,” Velis added.
At the conclusion of the summit, all parties vowed to continue the dialogue to effect as much positive change as possible as to how the criminal justice system works with Veterans. “It was great to come together with these caring publics servants to make sure that those who have given of themselves so greatly but yet met great challenges here at home have the best opportunity to become healthy, productive citizens again,” said Nick Cocchi.