Buckley and Whelan Highlight Priorities in Sheriff’s Race

HYANNIS – Donna Buckley and Tim Whelan are both running to take over the position of Barnstable County Sheriff in November’s general election.

Current Sheriff James Cummings announced he would not seek reelection for a fifth term.

Democratic candidate Donna Buckley said the reason she entered the race was because she saw the other option for the sheriff’s office as a continuation of “the status quo” of the last 24 years.

“We need a sheriff’s office in Barnstable County that is modern, professional, and is designed and focused on the challenges that we face today and tomorrow,” she said.

Buckley recently worked as general counsel to the Barnstable County’s Sheriff’s office.

If elected, Buckley said her first act would be to communicate to the public and to the sheriff’s office that the priority of the office is the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of inmates.

Buckley said that the current sheriff’s office uses 1.7% of its budget on mental health for inmates.

“If we don’t prioritize the treatment, then what we have is a rinse and repeat cycle,” she said.

Buckley said she would move away from some current practice of the office including the marine unit and the office’s 287G agreement with ICE.

She added she would make Inmate Services an executive position within the office. Buckley said she would provide more modern trainings to staff and prepare inmates for post-release through job training and addiction treatment and counseling.

The Republican candidate for sheriff is State Representative for the First Barnstable District Tim Whelan.

Whelan cited his experience in law enforcement as what sets him apart in the race. Whelan previously worked as a Corrections Officer for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and is a retired Massachusetts State Police Sergeant.

Whelan said his number one priority would be to deal with the sheriff’s office’s staffing crisis which he noted is resulting in a lot of forced overtime.

He said he encountered the same issue when he was on the State Police and the amount of hours can affect morale and judgement.

“We have to get them more staff. We have to recruit, we have to get them trained, and we have to get them in there and working to give that staff a break because they deserve it,” he said.

Whelan said he wants to launch an “Almost Home” program to initiate family counseling sessions with people who are incarcerated and their family members during pre-release.

He added he would continue medically assisted treatments for inmates. He also underlined the importance of job training and mentioned starting a series of CORI-friendly job fairs.

Head to the website for Donna Buckley and Tim Whelan to learn more about the candidates.

By Brian Engles, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About Brian Engles

Brian Engles is a longtime local of the Cape. He studied Film & TV at Boston University and in addition to his role at Cape Cod Broadcasting Media, he also works as a music instructor and records original songs.

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