New MA Sheriff Plans to Clean Up Scandal-Plagued Office, Jail


Peter Koutoujian, the new sheriff of Middlesex County, Ma., is unveiling sweeping reforms meant to clean up the scandal-plagued department, vowing to bar jailhouse staffers from giving to his campaign and to take politics out of promotions, says the Boston Herald. In his first extensive interview since taking over the 780-employee department after the suicide of former Sheriff James DiPaola, he said, “If there is a need I will not hesitate to move people around or bring in new people.”

Koutoujian, a former state representative and prosecutor, said he's seeking to restore public confidence in a department under investigation by the attorney general over allegations that staffers paid DiPaola for promotions and other considerations. He pledged to refuse campaign donations from employees and he will require promotional exams. For jail inmates, he wants to start certificate programs for custodial jobs, printing, and graphics. He wants to open a post-release resource center and bring at-risk youth into the jail to see life behind bars. “I don't envision myself as being a police officer here,” said the married father of three. “You've got different models of sheriff. You've got some that are more law enforcement driven and others that are driven more on the issues of preparation for re-entry. Between those two is an appropriate direction to follow.”

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