The Race for Bristol County Sheriff: Hodgson vs. Heroux

Staff Writer: Maya Arruda

Email: marruda7@umassd.edu

The 2022 elections will be held in person on Nov. 8th. In the 2022 election, the politicians in the senate and the house of representatives will all be on the chopping block for re-election. More local positions will also be subject to re-election.

Including the position of county sheriff.

Bristol county includes such illustrious cities as New Bedford and Fall River, where they actually elected a known criminal to be mayor.

It also includes the UMassD campus and surrounding areas. For residential and commuter students who are registered to vote in Bristol County, there are two prime candidates for the sheriff position.

The reigning sheriff is Tom Hodgson.

(https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/05/21/opinion/is-this-end-sheriff-thomas-hodgson-odds-look-good/)

Before being elected as sheriff in 1997, he used to be a police detective in Maryland before resigning to pursue an accounting career. In 1988, he was elected as a member of the New Bedford City Council until his election as sheriff.

He is up for re-election this term. So far, he has been sheriff for the last 26 years.

According to Crime Grade.org, Bristol County is a relatively low-crime county with very few property crimes.

However, violent crime and “other crime” (a misc. title that includes crimes ranging from kidnapping to animal cruelty to vandalism) have crime rates of 2.157 (units for crime rate are crime per 1000 residents) and 9.454 respectively. But, this is only an average of the entire county.

Crime rates spike in large cities, and this is very true in Bristol County’s very own New Bedford.

According to Neighborhood Scout, New Bedford is more dangerous than 76% of cities in the United States with a violent crime rate of 5.94. Fall River has a violent crime rate of 8.33 and Taunton has a violent crime rate of 4.02. The national median for violent crime rate is 4.

However, the crime rates have nothing on the high suicide rates for Bristol County jails.

Last year, three people committed suicide within three months while in the Bristol county jail system.

In 2019, the national inmate suicide rate was 0.05%. That same year, the inmate suicide rate for Dartmouth was 0.46%.

The Bristol Ann article from GBH goes into further depth about the poor state of one of the Bristol County prisons, which would contribute to the high rates. The prison mentioned in the article is on Faunce Corner Road, just 12 minutes away from campus.

It should be mentioned that since being elected in 1997, Hodgson has passed policies to charge prisoners for room, board, medical services, and haircuts while imprisoned.

Hodgson also publicly volunteered to have his prisoners work to build the wall during the Trump regime in 2017.

His prime opponent in the upcoming election is Paul Heroux, the current mayor of Attleboro and former Massachusetts state representative.

(https://newbedfordlight.org/sheriff-candidate-heroux-we-dont-have-a-modern-jail-system/)

Heroux won the democratic primary vote in September with 41.8%. During his terms as a representative, he cosponsored the transgender public accommodation bill and the ban on gay conversion therapy.

He also was a statistician and criminologist at the Philidelphia county jail, and he later served as the director of research and planning for the MA Department of Corrections from 2008 to 2009.*

In his tenure as mayor of Attleboro, he implemented a rent and mortgage assistance program during the Covid-19 pandemic and implemented several policies for environmental conservation.

Be sure to cast your vote on November 8th for the candidate of your choice.

*edit made on 10/17/2022

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