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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Norfolk County Sheriff

Each county elects its Sheriff concurrently every six years. Due to a mid-term vacancy, Norfolk County is electing its Sheriff (in 2020) to serve the remaining 2-years of the six-year term. Although elected in each county, Sheriffs work within the state Department of Corrections. In Norfolk County, the Sheriff’s principal responsibility is the operation and management of the Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham. The Sheriff's office is also responsible for serving civil process, transporting inmates to and from courts and other facilities, and supporting local law enforcement.

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  • Candidate picture

    Jerry P. Mcdermott
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Patrick W. Mcdermott
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

State your relevant background and qualifications.

What are the principal challenges facing the Norfolk County Sheriff?

How would you ensure that prisoners leaving your county House of Corrections have the best chance for successfully returning to their communities?

Would you consider entering into a 287g agreement to engage in federal immigration enforcement activities? Why or why not?

I have served as an elected municipal official, as well as management on the federal, state, and county levels, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors.

During my nearly two years as Sheriff, I’ve completed training at the National Sheriff's Institute, with the National Institute of Corrections, and the FBI-LEEDA Program, where I was a Trilogy Award recipient.
The opioid crisis has changed corrections. Substance abuse, coupled with mental health issues are medical conditions that must be treated before offenders rejoin our communities. To address this issue, I formed a Task Force on Juvenile Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

COVID-19 is also a challenge. I have led our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 by creating separate quarantine housing units. I created our Pathogen Response Team to address the challenges of COVID-19 in our facilities.
Successful reentry programs are critical to reducing recidivism, especially for women and veterans. Whether the issue is substance abuse, self-esteem or mental health, we need to treat the whole person, or the cycle will continue. This was the impetus behind our Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program. We have assigned navigators to provide services for our offenders to assist them post release. We have partnered with several agencies to provide former inmates every opportunity for success
As Sheriff, I have made the decision not to house ICE detainees. This decision is based on the priority that I must focus on corrections on a local level. We are uniquely positioned to provide valuable and needed resources to Norfolk County.
I bring to the Sheriff's office a breadth of experiences and community-based work as an elected official & in my volunteer work. As the Norfolk County Register of Probate, I have extensive knowledge of how the county legal system works. I bring an extensive network of community- and county-based resources to the Sheriff's office. I have focused my entire career on access to justice, ensuring that socially disadvantaged residents have access to legal services and advice.
The Sheriff’s office can and must evolve beyond the jail to better serve the people of Norfolk County. While it is critical that we have a jail that is run efficiently and safely, Public Safety is more than putting criminals in jail. It has to be, and we all know it. The Sheriff’s Office must be a part of the answer, leading the county in coordinating responses to natural and public safety crises, such as systemic racism, COVID-19, the opioid epidemic, housing insecurity, and unemployment.
Focusing on rehabilitation and recidivism is key to ensuring that the House of Corrections is more than a place of punishment. I will tackle these issues by: 1) putting people on the right path by providing treatment for underlying conditions that lead to incarceration while prisoners are in my care; and 2) keeping people successful after by establishing a safe landing pad, including access to health care, job training, housing, and more. Success cannot happen without deep community engagement.
Absolutely not. As your future Sheriff, my responsibility is to ensure that all residents of our county feel safe and secure. Partnering with ICE to round up immigrants only makes it less likely for these communities to reach out to the Sheriff’s office when they need help, which in turn perpetuates more crime and makes Norfolk County less safe.