SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi spoke with criminal justice students today at one Springfield College to give a better understanding of how law enforcement is changing for the better.

From the opioid crisis to calls for police reform, law enforcement has changed in recent years. Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi spoke with students in the the criminal justice field at AIC about “the modern Sheriff.”

He talked about the importance and complications of creating a modern law enforcement agency focused on quality care in custody, compassionate community engagement and community policing. Over the last year and a half, there has been a lot of negative feelings towards police. Sheriff Cocchi said it’s important to change the public’s point of view.

“I want them to take away rebuilding and regaining the trust of the public. To me that’s critical. It’s not hard to do but it’s going to take time. You regain control and you regain trust by simply not talking about it but doing it.” Sheriff Cocchi

When the opioid crisis struck western Massachusetts and treatment beds were extremely limited, the Sheriff opened an addiction treatment facility for non-criminal civil commitments, which more than doubled the amount of treatment beds in western Massachusetts. Sheriff Cocchi said progress has been made and he wants those who are looking to go into law enforcement to be proud of the profession.