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U.S. Attorney’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force to Receive Attorney General’s Most Prestigious Award


Christopher Harris, (216) 443-7157

Cuyahoga County employees Angelo, Caraffi, Synenberg, Matia, Gilson, and Shannon among award recipients

CUYAHOGA COUNTY – Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish applauded the U.S. Attorney’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force for receiving the most prestigious award given by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Heroin and Opioid Task Force will receive the Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Partnerships for Public Safety.

“I applaud the U. S. Attorney’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force for their collaborative efforts as we fight this epidemic to increase public safety. Additionally, I’d like to thank the Department of Justice for recognizing the task force and awarding them with the department’s highest honor,” said County Executive Armond Budish. “In spite of the progress we have made raising awareness and getting Naloxone in our communities, we still have an uphill battle. We will continue to work diligently and develop solutions to combat this public health crisis.”

The Attorney General’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Community Partnerships for Public Safety recognizes outstanding achievement in the development and support of community partnerships designed to address public safety within a community. The Heroin and Opioid Task Force is being honored for their efforts in making Naloxone more readily available, increased training of doctors and medical professionals about the dangers of opioids, creation of a heroin-involved death investigation team that treats overdoses as crime scenes, and hundreds of town hall meetings and school presentations to parents, students, and community members.

“The Heroin and Opioid Task Force has proven that collaboration is an excellent approach for addressing important public safety issues. This comprehensive model has been so well-received, we are seeing others around the country use it—which is a positive step for us all,” said Chief Community Safety and Protection Officer Frank Bova.

Established in 2013, The Heroin and Opioid Task Force is comprised of law enforcement, doctors, public health professionals, judges, people in recovery, educators and others. Many individuals and organizations have made significant contributions to the task force, but only 15 can be individually honored. Those being honored are as follows:
  • Philip Angelo, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department
  • Vincent Caraffi, Cuyahoga County Board of Health
  • Judge Joan Synenberg, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Judge David Matia, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Dr. Thomas Gilson, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner
  • Hugh Shannon, Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office
  • Dr. Joan Papp, MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Dr. Jason Jerry, Cleveland Clinic
  • Aaron Marks, member of the recovery community
  • Todd DeKatch, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Keith Martin, , Resident Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Gary Gingell, Commander, Cleveland Division of Police
  • Joseph M. Pinjuh, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Craig A. Tame, U.S. Attorney’s Office
  • Mike Tobin, U.S. Attorney’s Office

"It is an incredible honor to be recognized by Attorney General Lynch and the Justice Department. The dedication and commitment of our task force to raising awareness to the heroin epidemic has been remarkable," said Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department Special Assistant Philip Angelo. "Unfortunately, given the horrific toll heroin continues to take on our community, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, and we must redouble our efforts to save as many lives as possible."

The Attorney General’s Award Ceremony will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. at Washington D.C.’s largest concert hall, DAR Constitution Hall.