There’s a new sheriff in Suffolk County.
Steven Tompkins took the oath of office as the county's new sheriff on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at a ceremony presided over by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Formerly chief of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department of External Affairs, Tompkins will assume responsibility for all sheriff’s office operations at the Suffolk County House of Correction, the Nashua Street Jail and the Civil Process Division, according to a press release.
The job also entails “providing care, custody and rehabilitative support for inmates and pretrial detainees” and overseeing a staff of more than 1,000 employees, according to the release.
"As a dedicated public servant on the front lines of crime prevention and reentry rehabilitation, Steven brings first-hand knowledge and passion to this critical position," Patrick said in a statement. "I am confident in his ability to serve Suffolk County in this role and I look forward to working with him to strengthen our re-entry programs and reduce youth violence."
Tompkins has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boston College and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Massachusetts and currently lives in Hyde Park.
In August, Tompkins took a leave of access from the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office to serve as senior advisor on the “Elizabeth Warren for Senate” campaign, according to an article published in the Bay State Banner.
In his new position, Tompkins is filling the vacancy left by Sheriff Andrea Cabral, whom Patrick recently appointed as the commonwealth's executive secretary of public safety and security. Tompkins will serve in this role until the 2014 biennial election, at which time he along with other candidates could run to fill the remainder of Cabral’s term as sheriff.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis had this to say about the new sheriff: "The Suffolk Sheriff’s Department and the Boston Police Department have enjoyed a tremendously cooperative and productive relationship for decades. I believe that Steve will continue that tradition because he’s been someone that has been a great public servant and someone that Sheriff Cabral has relied on during her time in office. I think that the transition will be seamless and I am looking forward to working with Sheriff Tompkins.”
Among Tompkins’ achievements in his role as chief of external affairs was the creation of the “Common Ground Institute,” a program that helps inmates train for and find jobs after they are released.
According to the statement:
As Chief of External Affairs in the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, Tompkins supervised his own division and was a member of the Sheriff’s nine-member Executive Team, which was responsible for day-to-day management of all Sheriff’s Department operations. 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.
Tompkins’ work also focused on youth violence and crime prevention. He created the “Choice Program” which sends trained officers into Boston’s public middle schools to educate students about the role of government, good citizenship and the importance of making positive life choices. Tompkins also ran the popular ‘Jail Brake,’ a program that directly targets youth at risk for involvement in the criminal justice system.
District 6 Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley called Tompkins an "innovative, effective and fair leader," saying the new sheriff would serve with "passion and integrity."
"Placing a premium on reentry and reintegration programs, Tompkins will continue to build upon the good work of Secretary Cabral and Suffolk County will be a safer place because of it," O'Malley said in a statement. "I’m thrilled to call Steve a friend, a colleague, and now my Sheriff. He’s an outstanding choice.”