Our Veterans: Relief re Leeds

We can all exhale now that the threat of closing the Leeds VA facility has passed, and let’s hope that idea won’t come back up for reconsideration any time soon.

Access to services, and just knowing that a facility and professionals who provide mental health services, medical services, substance abuse treatment, job placement services, and housing resources are available and accessible nearby are critical for the successful reentry of our veterans. Although we do not have a large number of veterans among our population in custody, we do have some, and they need our attention; their mental health needs, substance abuse needs, and needs for supportive community are great. During my years at the HSO, there was never any discernible coordination between the jail and the Leeds facility, so that any veterans in our care might have a direct connection to services on the outside among kindred spirits, after release; there absolutely must be and will be when I am Sheriff. Of a more self-serving need from the HSO perspective is that the VA facility is a likely rich potential hunting ground to help us meet staffing needs going forward; ex-military personnel already have many of the skills needed for Correctional security work, and many have skills likely transferable to the non-security side as well, such as in IT, maintenance, administrative, and more. So let’s make this connection a win-win-win: let’s have the HSO serve our veterans in custody better, let’s offer employment to Hampshire County veterans, and let’s make this a better Veterans-Community connection for all. Sheriff’s work is Community work, so let’s remember our HSO-veterans’ community connections.  #KnowYourSheriff  #KnowYourNextSheriff  #HampshireHSOVeterans