Challenger Set to Face Sheriff Cummings in 2016

COURTESY OF THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT RANDY AZZATO Randy Azzato, D-Falmouth, will challenge Sheriff James Cummings in 2016.

Randy Azzato, D-Falmouth, will challenge Sheriff James Cummings in 2016.

BARNSTABLE – Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings will face opposition next year as he seeks a fourth term.

Cummings will face his first challenge since becoming sheriff from Falmouth resident, and Democrat, Randy Azzato.

Azzato has spent 28 years in law enforcement including the last 10 as the director of security for the Massachusetts Department of Correction.

“I think I have new ideas and a new vision that would be relevant to the Cape,” Azzato said.

Azzato said the Cape has changed dramatically over the past two decades and that he has spent 20 years policing tourism communities riddled with drug abuse, fraud, property crimes, elder abuse, school crimes and quality of life issues.

Azzato believes his toughest challenge to beating Cummings is that the sheriff is well known and has held the position for a long time.

“I’m going to use that to my advantage,” Azzato said. “I think it has been a while and I think it’s a good time for the Cape to have a new vision and new direction so I’m just going to promote change.”

Cummings said he has no control over who runs and who doesn’t run but thinks the challenge will help to remind the public of the work that has been done since he has taken the office.

“On the good side of things, it will certainly give us the opportunity to get out there and remind folks of some of the things we’ve accomplished over the past 16 years,” Cummings said.

Azzato said his campaign will focus on keeping residents out of correctional facilities.

“I have huge prevention ideas,” he said. “We always promote in law enforcement that we don’t want people coming to jails and prisons.”

The challenger added that he will also focus on getting inmates rehabilitated.

“I’m very pro-programming for people that are incarcerated,” he said. “How do we better prepare them to return to the streets and not re-offend?”

Cummings said his office has fought the growing addiction problem and the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in Buzzards Bay has become a model nationwide.

“We are a leader across the country in fighting the opiate problem and our rehabilitation programs,” Cummings said. “Other states have come to us to look at our program. We are not going to them.”

Cummings believes the current rehabilitation programs are working and praised the work his office did to get more funding for the new county jail.

“We use results driven programming here and it has worked very well for us,” he said. “There are less people in jail today than there were when we built this place up here.”

Azzato began his career as a deputy sheriff in Florida before becoming a police officer in Fort Lauderdale and participated in multi-agency task force assignments in South Florida.

He then became an investigator for the Arlington County police in Virginia and was chosen for a tactical unit sworn as deputy U.S. Marshals for Washington D.C.

Azzato believes his background and experience in different areas of the country is what will differentiate himself from Sheriff Cummings.

“His entire career has been here in Massachusetts, and mine is going to be more of a national perspective because I worked in Florida, Virginia and now in Massachusetts,” he said. “I just think that I bring more of an evidence based perspective and more national type programs that you’ll see me implement that haven’t been done prior.”

Cummings believes the work he has done since taking office in January of 1999 will help him to get re-elected.

“This is a very well run sheriff’s office and we hear that all the time,” he said. “When people come and tour the facility they are amazed at how the place operates.”

Cummings announced that he would run for re-election during a fundraiser last month which was attended by Governor Charlie Baker

The election will be held in November of 2016.
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