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Overview of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO)

This section describes the makeup and responsibilities of the BCSO.

Table of Contents


The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) was established as a state agency on January 1, 2010, pursuant to Chapter 61 of the Acts of 2009. This act transferred to the Commonwealth, except where specified, all functions, duties, and responsibilities of BCSO and the other six county sheriffs’ offices that still existed, including assets, liabilities, debt, and potential litigation. This legislation made the sheriffs employees of the Commonwealth; however, they are still elected officials with administrative and operational control of their offices.

According to BCSO’s website, the office’s mission is as follows:

To improve the quality of life on Cape Cod by:

Protecting the public from criminal offenders by operating a safe, secure, and rehabilitative correctional facility.

Assisting local agencies and promoting public safety through our associated specialized services.

Enforcing the Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Constitution of the United States of America.

We hold ourselves accountable to the public and the principles of Integrity, Professionalism, Compassion and Teamwork.

BCSO is responsible for operating the Barnstable County Correctional Facility, which includes the Jail and House of Correction and a Communications Center located next to the Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC)1 in Bourne. The Barnstable County Correctional Facility houses a maximum of 588 inmates, who serve sentences of no more than two and a half years, in 12 housing units (pods). According to the BCSO website,

With individual recreation rooms in each pod, a library, classrooms, and chapel, this state-of-the-art facility allows BCSO staff to provide secure, safe incarceration of inmates and offer rehabilitative services for their betterment. During their sentence, inmates are provided medical services, substance abuse treatment, follow-up programming, religious services, educational programs, job training and reentry transitional programming.

Section IX of the BCSO internal control plan describes the Communications Center as follows:

It is a completely modern communications center with eight multi-functional dispatch consoles where telecommunicators respond to all emergency 911 calls for seven municipal fire/rescue departments and the JBCC Fire Department, and also patch calls between approximately 60 ambulances en route to four hospitals.

Additionally, BCSO has a Civil Process Unit that serves legal documents and enforces civil orders.

According to BCSO, the office had 324 employees as of July 26, 2018, and had an average of 347 inmates during the audit period. For its operations, BCSO received state appropriations of $27,780,507 and $28,336,117 for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, respectively.

1.    According to the BCSO internal control plan, “The JBCC is home to five military commands, including the Massachusetts Army National Guard at Camp Edwards; the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Otis Air National Guard Base; the 253rd Combat Communications Group, also at Otis Air National Guard Base; the 6th Space Warning Squadron phased array radar site at Cape Cod Air Force Station; and the U.S. Coast Guard at Air Station Cape Cod.”

Date published: June 18, 2019