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Blog Post  Meet the Sheriffs

  • Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association

As we kick off 2023, 14 newly-elected Sheriffs were recently sworn in to office. In alphabetical order by county, here are your Massachusetts Sheriffs:

Sheriff Donna Buckley (Barnstable)

Barnstable County: Sheriff Donna Buckley was sworn in for her first term after long-time Sheriff Jim Cummings retired. Buckley is no stranger to the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office. She served as General Counsel before running for election. She's excited to get to work and continue to improve the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Tom Bowler (Berkshire)

Berkshire County: Sheriff Tom Bowler has been the sheriff since 2010. Prior to becoming sheriff, he served for 24 years as a detective with the Pittsfield Police Department. During his time as sheriff, he has started a number of programs including an Aquaponics Lab where inmates get to learn and help grow produce for the population, staff, and community.

Sheriff Paul Heroux (Bristol)

Bristol County: Sheriff Paul Heroux was sworn in for his first term as sheriff. Prior to being sheriff, Heroux was elected for three terms as Mayor of Attleboro from 2018 until 2022, and for three terms as State Representative from 2013 until 2017. Sheriff Heroux also worked in the Philadelphia Prison System as the chief statistician, as the director in research for the Massachusetts Department of Correction, and in Saudi Arabia, for the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies.


Sheriff Robert Ogden (Dukes)

Dukes County: This is Sheriff Robert Ogden's second term serving as sheriff of Dukes County. Prior to being elected as Sheriff, Bob acted as Director of the Drug Information Bureau for 22 years. As Sheriff, Ogden advocates tirelessly for the community, maintaining and enhancing the vital programs and services of the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Ogden was recently elected by his fellow sheriffs as the Associate Vice President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association.

Sheriff Kevin Coppinger (Essex)

Essex County: This is also Sheriff Kevin Coppinger's second term serving as sheriff of Essex County. Prior to becoming Sheriff, he served 33 years in law enforcement. His career began as a police officer in Lynnfield before transferring to the Lynn Police Department in 1985, where he moved up through the ranks to become Police Chief in 2009 and held that position until becoming sheriff. He is committed to further professionalizing the sheriff’s office by improving staff skills, training, and accountability, expanding mental health services and medication assisted treatment to confront the opioid epidemic, and improving re-entry programs and community follow-up.

Sheriff Chris Donelan (Franklin)

Franklin County: Sheriff Chris Donelan is currently serving his third term as Franklin County Sheriff. During his tenure, he has remade the sheriff’s office from a place where the mission was containment of offenders to what today resembles a locked treatment facility. Using evidence-based treatment, including mindfulness and DBT, to being one of the first houses of correction in the country to offer Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), Sheriff Donelan’s leadership has made the Franklin County House of Correction a national model for addiction and mental health treatment.

Sheriff Nick Cocchi (Hampden)

Hampden County: Nick Cocchi began his career as a seasonal correctional officer with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office in 1993, working his way up the ladder over the years before being elected Sheriff. Since taking office in 2017, Sheriff Cocchi has expanded the office's level of community engagement, including taking on the opioid epidemic head-on. He started a medication assisted treatment program to help people battling addiction and he opened a substance use disorder treatment facility to help people involuntarily committed by the courts under the state’s Section 35 law. Behind the walls of the facilities he oversees, Sheriff Cocchi has taken evidence-based programing, education initiatives, career training and job placement to the next level. Sheriff Cocchi was elected by his fellow sheriffs to serve as the President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association.

Sheriff Patrick Cahillane (Hampshire)

Hampshire County: Sheriff Patrick Cahillane is currently serving his second term as sheriff of Hampshire County. He was first elected in November 2016. With more than 40 years of public health and safety experience, Sheriff Cahillane has continued to evolve county correctional practices in accordance with state law and the desires of Hampshire County residents, all while navigating the shifting contours of the coronavirus pandemic. Under his progressive leadership, the Hampshire Sheriff’s Office (HSO) has become one of the first facilities in the state to offer Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid-use disorder (2018), and one of only a handful of county facilities nationwide to become its own federally licensed Opioid Treatment Program (2021).

Sheriff Peter Koutoujian (Middlesex)

Middlesex County: Sheriff Peter Koutoujian has served as sheriff of Middlesex since 2011. As a prosecutor, legislator, professor, and law enforcement leader, Sheriff Koutoujian has worked on the leading issues in public safety and public health throughout his career. As sheriff, Peter Koutoujian’s use of specialty units has reimagined the correctional landscape. By targeting treatment towards unique populations such as young adults and military veterans, these programs have directly and substantially reduced recidivism in their participants.

Sheriff James Perelman (Nantucket)

Nantucket County: Sheriff James A. Perelman is serving his third term as Sheriff for Nantucket County. He was elected in November of 2010, and sworn into office on January 1, 2011. Sheriff Perelman has been a year round resident of Nantucket since 1970. The Nantucket Sheriff's Office has changed dramatically since January of 2010, when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts assumed funding obligation for the seven sheriffs serving in the remaining county governments. Sheriff Perelman maintains a close partnership with the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office which, by contract, provides incarceration for persons arrested and sentenced from the Nantucket District or Superior Court.

Sheriff Patrick McDermott (Norfolk)

Norfolk County: Patrick McDermott was elected Norfolk County Sheriff in 2020. Sheriff McDermott has a long history of public service in both government and non-profit work. Before being elected as sheriff, he served for 18 years as the Norfolk County Register of Probate. He has a proud record of public service, including three terms as Quincy City Councilor (1996-2002) focused on public safety, advocating for a greater commitment to community policing and improved emergency response capabilities as well as thriving and responsible economic development for his community. He served as a Legislative Aide for former State Representative Mike Bellotti (who later served as the Norfolk County Sheriff), State Representative John Rogers, and State Senator Michael Morrissey. Sheriff McDermott was recently elected by his fellow sheriffs as Vice President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association.

Sheriff Joseph McDonald (Plymouth)

Plymouth County: Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr. was first elected in November 2004, and sworn into office by then Massachusetts Governor W. Mitt Romney on January 5, 2005. He is the 30th High Sheriff of the County of Plymouth, an office which dates back to 1692. Prior to being elected to what is, at Common Law, the County’s top law enforcement post, Sheriff McDonald served for almost 9 years as an Assistant District Attorney for Plymouth County. In 2017, the Sheriff was proud to receive the FBI Trilogy Award, upon his successful completion of the requisite specialized training in law enforcement supervision, management and command.

Sheriff Steven Tompkins (Suffolk)

Suffolk County: Steven W. Tompkins, a member of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office since 2002, was appointed to serve as the sheriff on January 22nd, 2013 by Governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick. In November of 2014, he was elected to the office. As the Sheriff of Suffolk County, Tompkins manages all operations at the Suffolk County House of Correction, the Suffolk County Jail and the Civil Process Division. As the former Chief of External Affairs for the office, Sheriff Tompkins established sustainable partnerships with municipal agencies, neighborhood organizations, civic associations, local businesses and crime watch groups to increase community engagement in deterring youth crime and improving reentry programs. Sheriff Tompkins created the innovative “Common Ground Institute,” a vocational training and re–entry program that teaches marketable vocation skills in a classroom setting and allows inmates to hone those skills by renovating public lands and facilities throughout Suffolk County.

Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (Worcester)

Worcester County: Lew Evangelidis was elected Worcester County Sheriff in 2010. Since taking the oath of office, Sheriff Evangelidis remains committed to running the Sheriff’s Office based on two principles: professionalism and public safety. As Worcester County Sheriff, Evangelidis has implemented the highest hiring standards in corrections in the Commonwealth and thus ending the culture of politics and patronage at the jail. While overseeing the care, custody, and control of the Jail and House of Correction, Sheriff Evangelidis introduced new, comprehensive mental health, substance use, and reentry programming to help address the 90% of inmates who enter the facility and struggle with addiction. Additionally, Evangelidis implemented preventive youth programming through the creation of the Face2Face Drug and Alcohol Program and other community based initiatives.

  • Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association 

    Founded in March of 1983, the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) supports, promotes, and advocates for each of the 14 Sheriffs Offices in the Commonwealth.
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