From the time of his appointment Sheriff Cousins has made significant changes at the Sheriff's Department. Under his leadership the department has opened 3 offices of community corrections, 2 civil process offices and the county's first ever women's pre-release facility. A testament to Sheriff Cousins' leadership and managerial skills is the Essex County Correctional Facility receiving professional accreditation from the American Correctional Association in September 2003. Administratively, Sheriff Cousins completely restructured the management of the department and instituted a zero based line-item budget process.
Sheriff Cousins is responsible for managing the operations of 8 facilities, a staff of 553 full-time employees, a daily inmate population of 1500 and an annual operating budget in excess of $40m. Committed to providing inmates with the necessary skills to become productive members of society, Sheriff Cousins has implemented numerous educational and behavioral programs at the county's correctional facilities. His commitment to the treatment of offenders is highlighted by the establishment of the substance abuse treatment community (SATCO) at the Essex County Correctional Facility, the community service program and recently established offender re-entry facility at the Lawrence Correctional Alternative Center and the drug and alcohol diversion programs at the Women-in-Transition Center in Salisbury.
Outside the Department, Sheriff Cousins has sought to forge positive relationships with other criminal justice agencies. One of most recent benefits of this multi-jurisdictional collaborative effort is the implementation of a web- based information sharing network that links all 34 Police Departments in the county to the Essex County Correctional Facility in Middleton. In addition, Sheriff Cousins serves as the President of the Essex County Collaborative Consortium (ECCC), a regional law enforcement organization comprised of county police departments, District Attorney's Office and Sheriff's Department whose mission is to apply for and administer state and federal grants to fund public safety initiatives in Essex County.
For his work at the Sheriff's Office, many have recognized him for his skills and dedication to public safety. In November 2002, Sheriff Cousins was selected by Governor Mitt Romney and Lt. Governor Kerry Healey to serve on their transition team for public safety, where he played an important role in the administration's evaluation of public safety policies and initiatives. More recently Sheriff Cousins was selected to serve on Governor Romney's "Crime Commission" where he co-chaired the "Offender Re-entry" working group as well as the Governor's "blue ribbon" committee that is working to overhaul the management and operations of the State Department of Corrections. In addition, Sheriff Cousins was named to the advisory board of the National Center for Women and Policing (Washington D.C.) and the Board of Directors of the Correctional Association of Massachusetts (CAM).
As he looks ahead, Sheriff Cousins plans to open a regional police lock-up, introduce new programs that reduce offender recidivism and achieve professional accreditation for the Lawrence Correctional Alternative Center and the Women-in-Transition Facility in Salisbury.
Prior to becoming Sheriff, Frank served two terms as State Representative (1992-1996) from the 1st Essex District and was a Newburyport City Councilor (1989-1993). His private sector work experience includes ownership of an automobile dealership, retail management, and real estate sales. While serving in the Massachusetts House of Representative, Sheriff Cousins served on the Insurance and Energy Committees and was one of only thirty-five emerging young leaders from across the nation chosen for the highly prized Flemming Fellowship. In 1996 he was elected Chairman of the Massachusetts Black Legislative Caucus and fought for expanded opportunities for minorities in state government.
For his dedication and professionalism, Sheriff Cousins has been recognized by many in his region. In endorsing the Sheriff's candidacy for election, The Lawrence Eagle Tribune (10/30/98) declared that, "In two years, Sheriff Cousins has done much to return honesty, integrity and professionalism to his office." And The Boston Globe (12/6/98) dubbed him "a rising star" north of Boston. Additionally, Cousins has been singled out for his work across party lines. Democratic political consultant Michael Goldman said, "He has done a very good job as Sheriff. He has built a broad based constituency...he is a very good guy who has done a very good job" (Lawrence Eagle Tribune 2/18/01). Thomas Driscoll (D), Essex County's Clerk of Courts says of Sheriff Cousins, "He has a good reputation as a Sheriff. He would be a very difficult candidate for anyone to beat. And I don't know any issue out there that says he's someone who should be run against (The Boston Sunday Globe 2/8/04)."
Having received numerous civic awards and citations for his work as Sheriff, including the prestigious "Promoting Equality for Women" award in 2000 from the National Center for Women in Policing, Sheriff Cousins is poised to lead his department in the new millennium and to become a leader in the development of innovative programs aimed at reducing recidivism. The Sheriff remains committed to providing the best correctional services possible while providing sound fiscal management and a firm but fair correctional philosophy.
Sheriff Cousins is a graduate of Springfield College where he received both his BA (Human Services), and his Master's Degree (Criminal Justice). In addition to his academic course-work, Sheriff Cousins attended the National Sheriff's Institute in Denver, CO (January 1998) the Massachusetts Senior Executive Program at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government (February 2000) and the prestigious Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar (LEEDS) at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA (February 2004). On a personal note Sheriff Cousins resides in his hometown of Newburyport with his wife Nicole and son Gardner William.