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Sheriff Patrick McDermott

Sheriff Patrick McDermott
200 West St. P.O Box 149
Dedham, Massachusetts, 02027
(781) 329-3705

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Patrick McDermott was elected Norfolk County Sheriff in 2020.
Sheriff McDermott has a long history of public service in both government and non-profit work. Before being elected as Sheriff, he served for 18 years as the Norfolk County Register of Probate where he focused his attention on access to justice for Norfolk County residents with an emphasis on improving the lives of people impacted by opioid abuse, domestic violence, family strife, mental health issues within families, and helping people navigate adoption processes.
He has a proud record of public service, including three terms as Quincy City Councilor (1996-2002) focused on public safety, advocating for a greater commitment to community policing and improved emergency response capabilities as well as thriving and responsible economic development for his community. He served as a Legislative Aide for former State Representative Mike Bellotti (who later served as the Norfolk County Sheriff), State Representative John Rogers, and State Senator Michael Morrissey. He also served as the Executive Assistant to the Register of Deeds for Norfolk County.
In addition to his work in government, Sheriff McDermott is a dedicated community leader and volunteer. An accomplished lawyer, he is an active member of the Bar Association of Norfolk County where he served as its President from 2012 to 2013. He is an active member of the Greater Quincy Knights of Columbus, the Quincy Lodge of Elks, the Quincy Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Bar Association, and the Quincy Rotary Club, having served as President 2019-20. Sheriff McDermott is also a committed 30-year rider in the Pan Mass Challenge which has raised millions of dollars for cancer research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in memory of his mother.
Sheriff McDermott is a graduate of the Boston Archdiocesan Choir School (St Paul’s, Cambridge) BC High, Boston College, and Suffolk Law School. He lives in Quincy with his wife Tracy Wilson and their children Alana and Adam.

History of the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office


The Norfolk County Sheriff's Office has a rich history dating back to 1793 when Gov. John Hancock appointed Ebenezer Thayer as the county's first sheriff.


The word, "sheriff," is a blend of the old English words, "shire" and "reeve." A shire was a geographic area of jurisdiction, and a reeve was the person appointed by the king to keep peace and administer the laws of the land.

The current Norfolk County Correctional Center, which opened in 1992 at 200 West St. in Dedham, is the only correctional institution in the United States that is located between the lanes of an interstate highway. The jail sits between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 95, also known as Route 128. The former jail, a handsome stone structure on Village Avenue in Dedham, has been converted to luxury condominiums.


The most notorious prisoners held in custody by the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office were Nicola Sacco and Bartolommeo Vanzetti. They were members of an Italian-American anarchist group known as The Galleanists when they were arrested for the murders of two Braintree shoe company employees during a payroll robbery in 1920. Sacco and Vanzetti claimed they had alibis.

At trial, their defense witnesses primarily were fellow immigrants who testified in broken English or in Italian through a translator. The case generated a surge of anti-immigrant sentiment and received international media attention. The two men were executed in 1927 after their lawyers exhausted their court appeals, but there continued to be questions about whether they received a fair trail. Years later, Gov. Michael Dukakis signed a proclamation stating, "Any stigma and disgrace should forever be removed from the names of Nicola Sacco and Bartolommeo Vanzetti.


We are not here to say whether these men are guilty or innocent. We are here to say the high standards of justice, which we in Massachusetts take such pride in, failed Sacco and Vanzetti."

The last death penalty execution in Massachusetts took place on May 9, 1947 in Charlestown, but prior to that, executions were a relatively common occurrence. The last execution in Dedham occurred at the old jail on Village Avenue on June 25, 1875. The beam from which convicted murderer Henri Costley was hanged is still in a warehouse maintained by the Norfolk County Sheriff's Office. Costley had been convicted of murdering his housekeeper -- with whom he had a romantic relationship -- after he became engaged to his wife.

On Jan. 26, 1975, Norfolk County Correction Officer Joseph Stroy acted with extraordinary valor in the face of danger and suffered a bullet wound during an escape at the old Village Avenue jail.

About 7p.m. that night, a fellow correction officer opened a cell door to allow an inmate to use a payphone. He was confronted by an inmate holding a gun pointed directly at his nose. The gunman and his cellmate grabbed the officer's keys. They opened two more cells, and a total of four inmates rushed to the "cage," from which the jail's main door was controlled.


Stroy manned the cage that night. Staring at the gun barrel thrust through the wire mesh about six feet away, Stroy refused the inmates' demands to open the door. Instead, he turned to pull an alarm. The gunman fired, and Stroy slumped to the floor with a bullet in his back. The inmates stuck a broom handle through the cage to push a button and open the door.


Three of the four inmates were recaptured within 24 hours. The fourth was nabbed shortly after that. It was later determined that the escapees received their gun from an accomplice who threw it over the jail wall. Stroy never fully recovered from his wound, suffering paralysis in his left leg and ultimately losing it to amputation. Joe Stroy died in the 1989 at the age of 64.


On the morning of Nov. 25, 1978, a fire broke out in the north wing of the old Village Avenue jail. All 109 inmates were assembled in the jail courtyard while firefighters battled the blaze from outside the walls. With the help of area police departments and Sheriff's Offices, all 109 inmates were transferred to other jails - primarily in Billerica, Boston and Worcester. The entire move took just four hours.


Later, a handful of inmates with construction skills returned to the jail to live and rebuild the damaged section. The jail reopened for all inmates in January 1980.

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