Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi and Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott joined sheriffs and leaders from across the nation in Washington, D.C. on July 14 for the Department of Justice All Sheriffs’ Authority Meeting.
The meeting was an opportunity for federal partners to listen to the training needs and technical challenges sheriffs are facing in relation to their jails. Topics included recruitment and retention, officer wellness, diversion, reentry, IT infrastructure and data collection, among other topics impacting sheriff's offices. It was also an opportunity to highlight innovative and successful programming that could be replicated. This was the third All Sheriffs’ Authority Meeting hosted by the Department of Justice. The previous two meetings focused on the opioid epidemic and the mental health crisis facing our nation’s jails.
“It was great to be in Washington with sheriffs from across the United States to meet with our great federal partners including the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Bureau of Justice Programs, the National Institute of Corrections, COPS Office, Drug Enforcement Agency and several others,” Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi said. “The Hampden County Sheriff’s Office is always looking to share ideas and gain insight into what programs exist across the country. We addressed the critical issues of staff recruitment and retention, rehabilitative programming and mental health and substance use programs for our justice involved individuals. I look forward to many more productive conversations with my fellow sheriffs and federal partners.”
Sheriff McDermott also spoke highly of the meeting, and the opportunity to engage with other sheriffs from across the country.
“I appreciate the opportunity to discuss issues that affect Sheriff’s Offices and the people we serve across this country. Strong partnerships and productive working relationships are essential to carrying out the mission of the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office, and this includes our federal partners,” Sheriff McDermott said. “These kinds of conversations are important in helping us share our innovative practices around staffing, retention, rehabilitation, and more, and they also help us think of new ways to approach these issues. This opportunity was the beginning of many fruitful conversations and working relationships that will help improve our work as sheriffs.”
The Department of Justice will prepare a summary from the listening session to shape and guide future DOJ grant and technical assistance opportunities for the field.