LOWELL, Mass. – Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard Leone and UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan today signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a new research partnership between the law enforcement agency and the university.
Through the partnership, the UMass Lowell Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology will lead the effort to engage the university’s resources with those of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office to create school-based crime prevention and mentoring programs for Lowell youth and joint, grant-funded research initiatives to enhance services provided to the public. Local schools, police departments and other community agencies will collaborate in this work, which will be facilitated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. UMass Lowell Assistant Prof. Andrew Harris will serve as the lead researcher and a steering group including representatives from the university, the District Attorney’s Office and others will review and guide partnership activities.
The partnership will also offer UMass Lowell criminology students opportunities for service learning, internships and research. The Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology offers one of the most popular majors at the university and offers bachelor’s, master’s and a new doctoral degree. The department will relocate next year to a brand-new, $40 million academic building currently under construction on UMass Lowell’s South Campus.
“This exciting new partnership seeks to enhance the safety and quality of life of Middlesex County citizens while leveraging UMass Lowell’s strengths as a world-class research institution ready to serve the greater community. Today’s agreement creates meaningful opportunities for faculty and students to apply classroom lessons to real-world situations and to engage with area leaders about important issues. We look forward to many fruitful projects with the D.A.’s office borne out of this agreement,” Meehan said.
“We’re excited to further develop our partnership with UMass Lowell through this important memorandum of understanding, which formalizes the existing relationship between the university and our office,” said Leone. “This partnership will enhance the preventative work that we do with youth in the Greater Lowell area and promote increased opportunities for UMass Lowell students who are interested in the area of criminal justice. I thank Chancellor Meehan for his collaboration, vision and his continued support.”
The agreement was signed at a conference at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center held by the Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, a non-profit partnership with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office that provides training, fosters collaboration and develops initiatives to increase students’ safety, health and learning in Middlesex County.
Under Leone’s tenure, the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office has the highest number of criminal convictions in Massachusetts. In addition, the office works with community and school leaders to offer many crime-prevention and youth intervention programs to stem the tide of issues affecting the community and our youth, including alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, teen dating violence, cyber protection, workplace violence, elder and disabled abuse, bullying and gang issues.
UMass Lowell is a comprehensive, national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 15,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, education, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, liberal arts, management, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.