Sheriff Kicks Off Re-Election Campaign

McDonald announced his run for reelection during a campaign kickoff at Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston last month.

“This is the best job I know in public safety,” said Sheriff Joseph McDonald, Jr. “Accordingly, I have always tried to do the best job I can for the communities of Plymouth County.

McDonald announced his run for reelection during a campaign kickoff at Indian Pond Country Club in Kingston last month.

McDonald said he is especially proud to lead one of the finest departments in the nation, and perhaps the oldest.

“The first Plymouth sheriff, John Bradford, began serving in 1692. There aren’t many agencies with a history as rich as ours. “

McDonald said he is pleased with the results of changes he undertook to enhance training for corrections staff and deputies during his tenure. Prior to taking office, he noted, some deputies were appointed without formal training or backgrounds in public safety.

“Perhaps 300 or even 30 years ago, it was alright to ask someone to pin on a badge and serve, “he noted. “Today, however, every deputy and correctional officer under my command must complete an intensive training academy before wearing our uniform. We are also fortunate that we have been able to attract hundreds of bright and capable candidates to compete for these challenging jobs.”

McDonald noted since taking office, the Plymouth County Jail and House of Correction have received the highest marks in its history from state and national accreditation experts. During the last audit by the American Corrections Association, PCCF and its staff were awarded near perfect scores for safety, security and cleanliness, he said.

McDonald believes the professionalism and sense of duty of his staff is one of the reasons Plymouth has been chosen to house many high-profile individuals charged with local or even federal crimes- including accused mobster James “Whitey” Bulger.

McDonald was criticized by some for not promoting Bulger’s two-year stay at PCCF, but McDonald maintained the ability to provide the notorious gangster with a fair trial was paramount and important to our justice process.

“Our core mission is to hold every individual accused of a crime in a safe, secure and humane setting until he or she can have their day in court, he said. “We did that and I am confident we will do so every day I am honored to lead these dedicated professionals.”

Building on local successes, Sheriff McDonald also found time to build support for community corrections across the state. In 2013, he was elected by his fellow sheriffs to serve as President of the state’s Sheriffs Association. Last year, he agreed to serve on Governor Charlie Baker’s Task Force to curb Opioid Abuse, and as a member of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to study ways to reduce incarceration levels in jails and prisons across the state.

The sheriff observed that not all of the demands of being sheriff are as high profile or immediately impact public safety. However, many of the decisions he makes are needed to keep the jail and its services operating smoothly.

For example, Plymouth County operates one of only two Bureaus of Criminal Investigations in the state. Last year, BCI deputies responded to more than 10,000 calls to assist local police in gathering forensic evidence of crimes.

The Department also provided 24/7 emergency communications links for the county’s fire, medical and public safety agencies without charge to local communities, he said.

Similarly, department staff undertook measures to save water and energy, paint and polish and improve technology at the 20-year-old Plymouth County Correctional Facility. “Sometimes, I like to remind people that our “House” has more than 1,200 residents, 600 bed and bathrooms.”

McDonald said if given the opportunity of another term as Sheriff, he would like to build on some of the reforms begun already. He continues to advocate for a wind turbine and solar panels to lessen demands for energy to power the jail. He would also like to build a state-of-the art firearms training facility to allow law enforcement officers from the region to train and qualify with their firearms each year.

The Sheriff is also eager to explore the possibility of returning female offenders from the women’s prison facility in Framingham to Plymouth. “ It just makes sense, said McDonald, noting “ I believe the chances of helping women (inmates) return to productive lives increases markedly if they are able to serve their time closer to their homes and families.”