PLYMOUTH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Sheriff Joseph McDonald
Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office
26 Long Pond Road
Plymouth, MA 02360
Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr. was first elected in November 2004, and sworn into office by then Massachusetts Governor W. Mitt Romney on January 5, 2005. He is the thirtieth (30th) High Sheriff of the County of Plymouth, an office which dates back to 1692.
Prior to being elected to what is, at Common Law, the County’s top law enforcement post, Sheriff McDonald served for almost nine (9) years as an Assistant District Attorney for Plymouth County.
Sheriff McDonald is a lifelong resident of Plymouth County, having grown up in the seaside town of Marshfield, and for the last twenty (20) years making his family’s home in the town of Kingston. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree, and Suffolk University Law School where he received his Juris Doctor degree.
Additionally, Sheriff McDonald is a graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute (88th Session) at Longmont, CO; FBI LEEDS (59th Session) at the FBI Academy, Quantico, VA; and the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Committee Basic Reserve Police Academy (Session 06-01). In 2017, the Sheriff was proud to receive the FBI Trilogy Award, upon his successful completion of the requisite specialized training in law enforcement supervision, management and command.
Among Sheriff McDonald’s professional associations are: The National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (FBI-LEEDA), the American Correctional Association (ACA), Southeast Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, Southeast Massachusetts Detectives Association, Southeast Massachusetts Prosecutors Association (past secretary), the Plymouth County Police Chiefs Association, Plymouth County Police Officers Association, and the Plymouth District Bar Association (past president). The Sheriff is also a member of the Massachusetts and Federal Bar.
Sheriff McDonald is a past President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association, having held that position from 2013 to 2017.
History of the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office
The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the nation. It can trace its origin to the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620, when Myles Standish assumed responsibility for maintaining civil order as the Old Colony's military leader. Plymouth's first formal law enforcement agency, the Office of Constable, was created in 1633 with the charge of maintaining peace and holding people charged with crimes. The office of High Sheriff was established in 1692 and became an elective office in 1855.
The primary responsibilities of the sheriff are to operate the Plymouth County Correctional Facility; assist public safety; and oversee delivery of legal documents needed to support the operation of the courts.
The Plymouth County Correctional Facility is designed to hold more than 1,200 inmates, making it the largest correctional facility under one roof in New England. The jail holds a diverse population, including county, state, and federal prisoners. Some inmates have been sentenced; others are awaiting trial. Opened in 1994, the PCCF's design reflects modern corrections management practices, allowing for safe and secure operation. It is accredited by the American Correctional Association.
In addition to providing for the security and safety of inmates, PCCF offers rehabilitative, educational, and vocational programs. Qualified inmates are eligible for work assignments within the facility, on the County farm, or in supervised work crews. Many communities and non-profit civic organizations have benefited from labor done by inmate work crews and by the print shop program.