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January 25, 2013

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Steven Tompkins is sworn–in as the new Sheriff of Suffolk County by Governor Deval Patrick during the ceremony, held at the Massachusetts State House.

Steven W. Tompkins, a ten–year veteran of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, has been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to serve as the new Sheriff of Suffolk County.

In mid–December of 2012, Governor Patrick announced that then–Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral would be joining his administration as the Secretary of Public Safety for Massachusetts, thus creating a void that would need to be filled for the first time since 2002 – the year that both Cabral and Tompkins joined the Department.

"As a dedicated public servant on the frontlines of crime prevention and re–entry rehabilitation, Steven brings first–hand knowledge and passion to this critical position," said Governor Patrick. "I am confident in his ability to serve Suffolk County in this role and I look forward to working with him to strengthen our re–entry programs and reduce youth violence."

As Sheriff, Tompkins manages all operations at the Suffolk County House of Correction, the Nashua Street Jail and the Civil Process Division. In addition to providing care, custody and rehabilitative support for inmates and pre–trial detainees, Tompkins also oversees a management, security and administrative staff of over 1,000.

In his former position, which he held since 2002, Sheriff Tompkins served as the Chief of the External Affairs and Communications Division where he created the Common Ground Institute (CGI), a vocational training and re–entry program that teaches marketable vocation skills in a classroom setting and allows inmates to hone those skills by renovating public lands and facilities throughout Suffolk County. One of CGI’s most unique features is its job placement component for graduates with employers who hire with full knowledge of the offender’s criminal history.

Tompkins also initiated the Choice Program, which consists of Department officers who visit the schools of Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere to deliver on the program’s mission of helping young people to make positive choices for future success while reinforcing the theme of respect for oneself and for others around them. Officers speak with students about a variety of topics specific to today’s youths including the dangers of drug use and gang involvement, as well as the consequences of criminal activity.

During the ceremony, held in Governor Patrick’s State House office, Sheriff Tompkins reflected upon his humble beginnings and the perseverance that has led to this latest achievement, and his belief that everyone can do likewise if given the opportunity.

“I grew up in a single parent household in Harlem, in the projects,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “We were on public assistance for a time. I don’t want to hear young folk of any stripe, of any color, say ‘I can’t achieve’ because I know that they can. I went through that school of hard knocks and here I am standing with the Governor being sworn in as Sheriff. If I can make it, they can too. That’s the message I want to carry forth.”

“I thank Governor Patrick for his confidence and I pledge to serve the citizens of Suffolk County with integrity. I am inheriting a great Department with talented people who are committed to providing safe care and custody for individuals at our facilities and working with our external partners on a wide range of public safety issues. I am honored by this appointment and accept its responsibility enthusiastically.”

If the opinions of several elected officials, corrections professionals and members of the community paint an accurate portrait of the man for whom they were given, then the future is indeed bright for the communities within Suffolk County.

“The Suffolk Sheriff’s Department and the Boston Police Department have enjoyed a tremendously cooperative and productive relationship for decades,” said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis. “I believe that Steve will continue that tradition because he’s been someone that has been a great public servant and someone that Sheriff Cabral has relied on during her time in office. I think that the transition will be seamless and I am looking forward to working with Sheriff Tompkins.”

“Steve Tompkins is a well–respected public servant who will do a tremendous job serving as Sheriff of Suffolk County,” said Essex County Sheriff Frank G. Cousins, Jr. “He brings years of professional experience to the position and is someone who truly understands the importance and mission of the Office of Sheriff. His proven record of collaboration with several agencies and community groups will only further advance the positive impact the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department has had in their work to advance re–entry programs and fight recidivism.”

“In the time that I’ve known him, Steve has impressed me as very knowledgeable and intelligent, with a great passion for the job, ” added Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian. “I believe his focus on rehabilitation and re–entry bodes well for the future of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and the community.”

Speaking as engaged members of that community were several officials from outside of the realm of law–enforcement who also expressed their confidence in the Suffolk County’s new sheriff.

“Sheriff Tompkins is an innovative, effective, and fair leader who will serve the Department with passion and integrity,” District 6 Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley stated. “Placing a premium on re–entry and reintegration programs, Tompkins will continue to build upon the good work of Secretary Cabral and Suffolk County will be a safer place because of it. I’m thrilled to call Steve a friend, a colleague, and now my Sheriff. He’s an outstanding choice.”

“I’ve known Steve for a few decades now, and I’ve always been impressed with not just his level of intellect, but also his integrity,” said University of Massachusetts Chancellor Keith Motley. “I think what will also be helpful is that he has a real understanding in terms of the needs of the community’s young people and their development. He is highly articulate and I believe that he’s going to be very visible in the community. He’s someone who is going to be a connector and someone who will move into the preventive mode when it comes to our young people. I was ecstatic when I found out about his appointment and I think he’s going to build on the wonderful work that the previous sheriff has done and I think he’ll take it to another level.”

"I have known Steve Tompkins for over 10 years and have been fortunate to serve on several boards with him,” offered Michael Curry, Esq., Boston NAACP President. “He is deeply committed to public service and has the necessary experience, judgment and connectivity to neighborhoods that’s sorely needed in this position. I’m confident the Suffolk County Sherriff’s Office will maintain the proper focus on re–entry and the standards set by Sheriff Cabral."

But, for all of the statements of support and testimonials about the man selected to take up the badge of the Sheriff of Suffolk County, perhaps the person most qualified to offer comment is the woman who laid it down.

“Steve brings an extraordinary level of relevant prior experience to this position,” said Sheriff Andrea Cabral. “His job required him and his staff to work with every division within the Department. He knows what it took to get us where we are and he is very committed to building on that progress. Under his leadership, this Department’s best days are ahead of it.”

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