Chief Deputy Jason Trundy: Waldo County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO)
Robyn Goff: Director Community Justice-Volunteers of America (VOA)
Over my 28-year law enforcement career the profession of law enforcement has experienced a great many challenges. Over the years the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office has been fortunate to have strong partnerships with a wide range of community organizations to weather these changes. In this article we highlight our longstanding relationships with Volunteers of America Northern New England (VOANNE). Volunteers of America is a faith-based, national, non-profit organization that manages human service programs and provides opportunities for individual and community involvement.
VOANNE provided pre-trial case management services to the Sheriff’s Office for several years before expanding their assistance by securing the contract to provide programming services at the newly formed Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center (MCRRC) in 2010. The Reentry Center provides program intensive transitional services to men returning to the community from incarceration with the intention of reducing recidivism.
VOANNE and the Sheriff’s Office were two of the founding partners of the Waldo County Recovery Committee (WCRC). The recovery committee consists of six local organizations whose focus is on building a grass roots response to the opioid and mental health crisis that is occurring across the country. The Waldo County Recovery Committee works to support a vibrant community by providing a deeper understanding of substance use and mental illness, reducing stigma, improving access to treatment, and supporting families and those impacted by substance use.
Our ongoing relationship and VOANNE’s ability to leverage national resources has resulted in the acquisition of several grants focusing on supporting the Waldo County area. These grants, totaling well over 1 million dollars, have provided services including recovery coaching, post release assistance, transportation, case management, and the Sheriff’s Office’s community liaison program.
The Community Liaison program is a notable example of how a multiagency collaboration can positively impact our community. A community liaison is a civilian co-responder who has an educational background in social services, substance use, and mental health treatment. These co-responders are available to respond along side law enforcement personnel to assist with the wide range of social issues our deputies encounter every day. This program was started utilizing grant funding secured through a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, Penobscot Community Health Care, VOANNE, and the Restorative Justice Project of Maine.
The Sheriff’s Office and VOANNE are only two of an expansive network of community partners that are committed to making Waldo County a safer and healthier place for us to live, work and play. This network, and their willingness to collaborate, has made it possible for our community to respond together to the many challenges our community faces.
We want to express our deep appreciation for the continuing work of our many community partner organizations. We also appreciate the ongoing support we have experienced from the entire community. We are truly stronger together!