The Bedford Bridge
The Bedford Bridge is a local television series hosted by the Central Middlesex Police Partnership (CMPP) Jail Diversion Program Coordinator, Mackenzie Dezieck. On this show, she interviews a variety of different guests who are relevant to the CMPP mission. These episodes are aired on Bedford Public Television, as well as posted online at the Bedford TV Youtube page.
Frank Melaragni is a lifelong resident of Massachusetts who is currently a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MPCHS University). Frank has been at MCPHS University for 7 years. He is the Director of the Pharmaceutical Business program at MCPHS University and his research and service activities focus on the opioid healthcare crisis. For the past 4 years, Frank has been instrumental in leading efforts to train MCPHS University students, faculty, and community members on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose by using Narcan. In the past year, Frank received a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to a conduct a pilot program on safe “at-home” drug disposal. The goal of this pilot project is to safely remove unused prescription opioids which exist in homes throughout Massachusetts. Frank has partnered with the Central Middlesex Police Partnership and Mackenzie Dezieck to successfully implement this pilot program in many communities. Currently, Frank is developing podcasts which will bring to light the work of those who are addressing the opioid healthcare crisis in their communities and beyond. The goal of this project is to highlight the significant work being done at the community level, in the hope of bringing hope and encouragement to others.
Chief Robert Bongiorno came to Bedford in 2011 and had been working as an officer for 20 years. He has been a strong advocate of a new approach of policing, one that addresses public health approach to responding to domestic issues, substance abuse, and mental health problems. He pursued a grant from the state Department of Mental Health (DMH), that would provide police departments a trained counselor to co-respond with police to public health types of calls, thus the beginning of the Jail Diversion Program (JDP) in Bedford and surrounding towns. Bedford was the second town in Massachusetts to get this grant, and Bedford along with its police partners from Concord District Court were the first police departments in the Commonwealth to be awarded a regional grant by DMH.
Sheriff Koutoujian was appointed Sheriff of Middlesex County in 2011. He is a graduate of Bridgewater State University, the New England School of Law and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He has served on the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and in January of 2020, Sheriff Koutoujian began his first term as President of Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), representing sheriffs from the most populous counties in the nation. During his eight years in office, Sheriff Koutoujian has initiated several landmark programs at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, including the Housing Unit for Military Veterans (HUMV) and a medication assisted treatment program available to inmates who may struggle with substance abuse.
Jeff French and Eric Isnor grew up in Bedford, and continue to reside here. Officer French is the School Resource Officer (SRO) at Middlesex Community College, and has been working for The Bedford Police Department for 20 years. Eric Isnor is a senior patrolman, and has been working for the department for 30 years.