Hodgson loses to challenger Heroux in Bristol County Sheriff’s race

NEW BEDFORD — Despite a deadly campaign and a tight election night race against 25-year-old incumbent Thomas Hodgson, Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux said he and his team have “good vibes” as they await the results. of Bristol County Sheriff’s Race at Somerset VFW.

“I knew early on that the race was going to be tight. We all knew that, but somehow we suspected that we were going to win. In fact, at one point I took my team aside and said to them: “Guys, we’re going to win this.'”

He was back at his post as mayor of Attleboro in the morning, having turned up around 4 a.m., and was scheduled to attend a Council on Aging meeting and a new high school development meeting before a conference of press at his home to discuss his victory.

He added that this would still be his third and final term as mayor of Attleboro. “That was always my intention, so instead of being a year older, I’m less than two months older.”

As sheriff, he intends to serve one, possibly two terms. “If I can achieve what I want in one warrant, great. I won’t be sheriff for life.”

Héroux said he was happy to get his life back after the long campaign and would now plan the transition. “Now I have to try to do the things I talked about during the campaign,” he said.

During a campaign forum hosted by the Immigrants’ Assistance Center, New Bedford NAACP Branch, United Interfaith Action of Southeastern Massachusetts, Women’s Fund SouthCoast, and YMCA of Southeastern Massachusetts, Heroux said he wants to establish a ” national proof production model corrections. “His top priority is to run the county jail,” he said, adding that the position could be summed up by the phrase ‘care, custody, control and rehabilitation’.

Héroux said he also wanted to establish a standard of working with staff that would start with mutual honesty and communication.

He said detainees in need of mental health and medical treatment would have access to necessary care. “Otherwise, we are violating the Eighth Amendment” prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.

A risk and needs assessment will be performed on those entering the system to determine if there are any drug or behavior issues that need to be addressed.

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He said an individual’s eventual release should also be anticipated. This means that the “three pillars” of exit planning will be implemented to prepare people for a successful return to society:

  • housing to reduce homelessness upon release;
  • employment through education and vocational training;
  • health care, including addiction treatment and mental health treatment.

Hodgson, 67, had said there was “a distinct difference” between the candidates during the campaign, and the couple’s acrimonious shared appearances seemed to confirm that.

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Incumbent compared his experience to that of Héroux, saying the Democrat had no law enforcement and very little experience in corrections, and that he “jumped from one political job to another “.

Heroux countered that he had more experience in corrections than Hodgson when he was first appointed to the position.

Heroux worked in the Philadelphia prison system

From 2006 to 2008, Heroux worked in the Philadelphia prison system as an assistant to Commissioner Leon A King. From 2008 to 2009 he worked for the Mass. Dept. of Correction as Director of Research and Planning as Governor Appointed under the Patrick Administration.

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The two candidates even disagreed on the role of the position during the campaign.

Hodgson said of Heroux: “He said it’s not law enforcement work. Look at the definition, go to the dictionary. He says the sheriff is the primary enforcer of the law in the county.”

Outgoing Sheriff Thomas Hodgson looked confident as he stopped to vote at Dartmouth Council on Tuesday, November 8.  His opponent, the mayor of Attleboro, declared victory in the close race.

Hodgson had also noted during the campaign that he had earned all law enforcement endorsements, including from the Massachusetts State Police, New Bedford Police Union, Fall River Patrolmen’s Association, Taunton Police Patrolmen’s Association, Taunton Supervisors’ Association, Dighton Local 306. Police Union and Rehoboth Police Union.

Heroux said during the campaign, “In 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the sheriff is not a police officer. A sheriff’s job is correctional in Massachusetts.”

Heroux said the sheriff’s primary job is to run the county jail. He said the sheriff’s office can be involved in law enforcement, but probably shouldn’t be in the ways practiced by local, state and federal law enforcement. Hodgson was at times a controversial figure during his tenure.

Hodgson made national headlines

He made national headlines in 2017 when he offered to send immigrant detainees to the border with Mexico to help build the border wall proposed by former President Donald Trump.

The state attorney general, following an investigation, found that Hodgson violated the civil rights of immigrant detainees by using excessive force during a violent incident at the Bristol County Reformatory on May 1, 2020. The Department of Homeland Security then ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement to terminate its contract with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and transfer all remaining detainees to another facility in May 2021. The suicide rate in Bristol County jails had also drawn criticism, including a recent suicide at Ash Street Jail and an attempted suicide. the same day.

Héroux saw it as a “winnable” race

On election night, as he greeted supporters as the initial numbers began to roll in, Heroux thanked those who volunteered for his campaign, saying, “I said this was a winnable race, but I can’t do it alone and I think tonight’s result will be a testament to that and I didn’t do it alone… This race for sheriff, it’s definitely time for a change. reputation of Hodgson and the controversies in which he was involved….

Hodgson was first appointed to the position by Republican Governor Bill Weld. He won election to a full six-year term the following year and was re-elected three times thereafter. The last time he faced an electoral challenge was in 2010.

Heroux has served as mayor of Attleboro since 2018 and has won three elections for the position. He also served as the State Representative for Bristol’s 2nd District from 2013 to January 2018, before his inauguration as Mayor.

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