Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson became Sheriff of Bristol County in 1997 and has been reelected by his constituents four times.
Sheriff Hodgson began his law enforcement career in Ocean City, Maryland in the 1970s as a Police Officer on uniformed patrol along with busy boardwalk and thriving community. He worked his way up the ladder, being promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant and Detective, and held leadership roles in various divisions of the department, including special operations, undercover narcotics and hostage negotiation. He cared deeply about his fellow officers and fought for them every day as the President of the Ocean City chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police. He moved to Massachusetts and entered the private sector in the 1980s, holding several positions in sales, marketing, home improvement and finance before going back to law enforcement at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office as the head of Internal Affairs and Special Investigations under Sheriff David Nelson in the early 1990s.
Sheriff Hodgson’s correctional facility has received back-to-back 100% scores on national accreditation inspections from the American Corrections Association in addition to holding honors from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and other organizations that measure and promote best corrections practices.
Sheriff Hodgson has cemented the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office into the public safety realm with cooperation and collaboration with local, state and federal law enforcement organizations. BCSO staff are available 24/7 to public safety agencies across Bristol County and beyond, and BCSO deputies have and continue to serve on task forces with the FBI, DEA and ICE. Sheriff Hodgson firmly believes that the all levels of law enforcement should work together as a team to keep our neighborhoods as safe as possible. He is a graduate of the FBI Leadership program in Quantico, Va.
Sheriff Hodgson’s approach to corrections centers on rehabilitation and pushing inmates to programs and classes that can give them one more tool in their toolbox when they return to society. Sheriff Hodgson has implemented a range of rehabilitative programs, including substance abuse, anger management, vocational training, religious programs in several denominations, and an array of educational opportunities including GED and college-level classes.
Sheriff Hodgson, a Republican and fiscal conservative at his core, manages and operates a staff of around 600 employees and roughly 800 inmates with the lowest cost per inmate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is the only Sheriff in Mass. to have an accountability management program, which tracks more than 250 operating indicators every day on every shift to find cost savings and control cost overruns in real time. In addition, he implemented the Inmate Community Work program in which pre-release inmates leave the House of Correction every morning to perform work for government agencies, non-profits, churches and community-based organizations in an effort to give the taxpayers a return on their investment. From painting senior centers to landscaping and other types of labor, the taxpayers of Bristol County save roughly $1 million annually.
In his continuing efforts to keep Bristol County as safe as possible, Sheriff Hodgson has been working on immigration policy reforms for more than two decades on the local, state and national levels. His efforts have ramped up over the years as more and more people in Bristol County fall victim to drug overdoses and crimes committed by criminal illegal immigrants. He has been invited to the White House for roundtable discussions and strategy sessions on the impacts of illegal immigration on American neighborhoods. In addition, he has worked with Congressional leaders and Justice Department officials on the issue, and has testified before Congress about it on several occasions. The goal is to keep these dangerous drugs and deadly gang members from the Mexican drug cartels (which the DEA identifies as the biggest narcotics threat to the United States) out of Bristol County, Massachusetts and the United States.
Sheriff Hodgson’s public safety philosophy centers on reaching kids at an early age to get them on the right path so they never walk into the front door of a correctional facility. To support that vision, Sheriff Hodgson created the True Course program, an evidence-based program which uses the outdoors as a vehicle for change in at-risk youth. Additionally, he implemented programs that bring students into the jail for a real-life lesson on the importance of making the right decisions, as well as programs that bring supervised inmates to schools to speak with youth. The Sheriff’s Office also offers anti-bullying and cyber safety programs to schools and community groups.
Sheriff Hodgson has instituted numerous programs to benefit the citizens of Bristol County, especially senior citizens. Programs include the “Are You OK?” initiative, in which seniors who sign up receive a free call every day at the same time to check in on them and make sure everything is alright. This free program, which especially benefits seniors living alone, has saved lives over the years as emergency services are called if the person doesn’t answer. Other programs include Triad groups, which are three-way partnerships between the Sheriff’s Office, police/fire/EMS and seniors to increase the safety of seniors in our communities, and the Project Lifesaver program, in which seniors, adults or children wear a GPS bracelet that law enforcement can track if they get confused or get lost.
Sheriff Hodgson has been a friend and supporter of the local Portuguese community in Bristol County and Southeastern Massachusetts for years. Inmate workers annually assist in the Day of Portugal and Feast of the Blessed Sacrament celebrations. Sheriff Hodgson also works to better the homeland of the Portuguese community as well. He developed transition houses with the Azorean government to assist those deported from the United States with reintegrating to Azorean society.
Sheriff Hodgson is a member and leader with the National Sheriff’s Association and the Major County Sheriff’s Association, as well as the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association.
Sheriff Hodgson lives in Dartmouth with his wife, Jo-Anne, and dog, Snuggles. He has two daughters and is a proud grandfather of three.