Chief Terence M. Delehanty is pleased to announce that a Winthrop Police Sergeant was recognized last month for his work advancing mental health outreach community-wide.
Sgt. Sarko Gergarian was honored with the Exemplary Performance in Law Enforcement award on Tuesday, June 11, at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health’s Mental Health and Law Enforcement Conference.
He was recognized at the awards ceremony for his deep commitment to providing resources for those in the Winthrop community who are suffering from mental health related issues. Sgt. Gergerian works in close partnership with the town’s Department of Public Health and Clinical Services to conduct proactive outreach and connect with those in need to overcome their personal mental health challenges.
Over the past four years, Sgt. Gergerian has taken on responsibilities well above and beyond his duties as a police officer by leading the department’s innovative Community Law Enforcement Assisted Recovery (CLEAR) team. He’s also obtained a master’s degree in mental health counseling and has distinguished himself through his leadership in responding to mental health crises in the community.
“Sgt. Gergerian has been a tremendous force for positive change in the way our department — and our community as a whole — addresses mental illness,” Chief Delehanty said. “He’s extremely deserving of this honor, though I know he’s motivated solely by the potential his work has to improve the lives of others.”
The Winthrop Police Department’s renewed approach to mental illness began with a meeting between Sgt. Gergerian and Chief Delehanty, where the former suggested the department use all of the data at its disposal to support those in the community struggling with mental illness. With Chief Delehanty’s blessing, he immediately got to work.
“I asked if we were doing anything other than traditional policing with the police information we have, and I asked him if, on shift, I could use that information to identify people who were having struggles and follow up,” Sgt. Gergarian said. “My chief allowed me to use police information in a radically different way, as a source of information for people who need help. It’s developed into a wraparound program with a multidisciplinary team.”
Sgt. Gergerian was nominated for the honor by Public Health Director Meredith Hurley, who praised his compassion, poise, and empathetic nature, while also noting that his commitment to mental health and law enforcement work — and the intersection of the two — is second to none.