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Police endorse Pelletier

GREGG M. MILIOTE , Herald News Staff Reporter 10/16/2004

FALL RIVER -- The Massachusetts Police Association and its 22,000 members have recently pledged their support to the challenger in the race for sheriff of Bristol County. The association's executive director told The Herald News Friday that its executive board recently voted to endorse City Councilor Leo O. Pelletier for sheriff.

"We simply think he has a better understanding of what the job is," said Executive Director Jim Machado. "Leo has proven to be a man of his word." Machado said roughly 3,000 of the police association's members live in Bristol County. Pelletier said he was ecstatic to hear of the endorsement by the state police union. "I think it's great when a police association doesn't support an incumbent sheriff," Pelletier said. "It shows a real growing problem for Sheriff (Thomas) Hodgson."

Along with the endorsement of Pelletier, Machado said his association members are in the process of sending out thousands of direct mailings indicating the association's position on the heated battle for sheriff in Bristol County. "We're going to get out the vote for Leo and make some financial contributions to his campaign," Machado said. "Our goal is to get him elected." Machado said the association's decision to endorse Pelletier was based largely on its belief that Hodgson has overstepped his bounds by taking on law enforcement responsibilities in Bristol County. "Hodgson doesn't understand that he is not running a police department," Machado said. "The role of the sheriff is the care, custody and transportation of prisoners -- not to investigate crimes all over the county." But Hodgson Friday said the endorsement was "unfortunate" and a "political ploy." "I don't believe their endorsement represents the majority of the fine police officers working in Bristol County," Hodgson said. "We shouldn't be playing politics with endorsements."

Hodgson went on to question why an association of law enforcement officers would endorse "a convicted felon for the highest law enforcement position in the county." Hodgson was referring to a 1983 indictment to which Pelletier pleaded guilty. The indictment levied five separate illegal gaming charges against Pelletier. The current Fall River City Council vice president pleaded guilty to the charges and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Hodgson said endorsing Pelletier for sheriff is "a complete contradiction to what all of our badges stand for." "It's truly unfortunate. The association will certainly have a lot of answering to do to all the fine men and women who protect our county from crime," Hodgson asserted. "I have a good working relationship with many of the chiefs of police and fire departments. The public will soon realize that the association is playing politics here." Pelletier, though, said he sees the endorsement as a key late election season boost for his campaign. "Everything at this point is a boost," Pelletier exclaimed. "When people see this endorsement and the others coming soon, they will start to think a little bit more about who the right man for this job really is."

Pelletier also noted that he is expecting to receive another key endorsement from state Rep. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, in the coming days.

Gregg M. Miliote may be reached at [email protected]
 

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Re: MPA Endorses Pelletier for Bristol Co. Sheriff

Talked with a few Bristol County Sheriffs during the DNC, most of them gave me the impression that Pelletier is going to reverse what Hodgson has done when it comes to the chain gang work details. Pelletier will also bring the televisions back to the prisons and let the prisoners start working out with weights again, all the luxuries that they lost with Hodgson will be brought back by Pelletier.

There was also talk that Pelletier will phase out the law enforcement division and focus on the jails and CO's. Probably why the MPA endorsed him. :roll: (yes I am one of those "the more the merrier type of officers")

Hodgson went on to question why an association of law enforcement officers would endorse "a convicted felon for the highest law enforcement position in the county."
I thought that Pelletier was a current Sheriff?? Didn't know anything about the conviction.

I am not a huge Hodgson fan and think that he seems to be a little to concerned with public relations and media attention, but I don't think I am with the MPA on this one.
 

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Gil,
Pelletier is actually a retired cook from the Ash St. Jail. He claims that his experience as a cook @ the jail gives him the necessary insight on corrections to do the job of Sheriff :roll: He also in a recent interview referred to former inmates as "graduates". I've met Pelletier and I was not impressed he acts like more of an inmate than a law enforcement officer, if you know what I mean. The MPA endorsement was a swipe @ Sheriff Hodgson and I guess that is the Executive Board's right to do but I really don't like the idea that $$ that we've paid in dues is going to end up being donated to Pelletier and used for pro-Pelletier mailings. As far as the felony conviction goes he's been quoted numerous times saying that he felt it was "no big deal", not really the type of character I want running the sheriff's office, but that's just my opinion.
 

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Re: MPA Endorses Pelletier for Bristol Co. Sheriff

FALL RIVER -- With the election only two days away, Democratic candidate for sheriff Leo O. Pelletier is hoping that his growing list of endorsements will spell victory Tuesday in the race for Bristol County sheriff.

"They are certainly going to help me," Pelletier said. "I would rather be in my shoes than" those of Republican incumbent Thomas M. Hodgson.

Hodgson has downplayed both his challenger's endorsements and his lack of them, saying that he only cares about receiving the voters' support on Election Day.

"I haven't asked for any endorsements," Hodgson said. "The endorsement I'm looking for is from the good people of Bristol County."

The sheriff said he believes the voters "are going to make up their mind based on (his) record and what (he has) accomplished over the past seven and a half years."

"I feel very good about what we are hearing out there," Hodgson said.

While Hodgson is endorsed by The Herald News on today's Opinion page (turn to A6) and has also been endorsed in the Boston Herald and in The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro, Pelletier has racked up a variety of endorsements from politicians and labor organizations.

Among those individuals or organizations that have endorsed Pelletier are state Sen. Joan M. Menard, D-Fall River, state Rep. James H. Fagan, D-Taunton, state Sen. Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton, state Rep. Patricia A. Haddad, D-Somerset, the Massachusetts Police Association, the Corrections United States of America, the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union, the Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council AFL-CIO and the Plymouth-Bristol Central Labor Council AFL-CIO.

Additionally, Pelletier has been endorsed by the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the International Brotherhood of Correction Officers, the International Association of EMTs Paramedics, the National Association of Government Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters Union Local 251.

Hodgson questioned the significance of Pelletier's union endorsements.

"Frankly, what I've found is that executive boards of unions are the ones that make the decision (to give an endorsement) that reflects on all of the membership," Hodgson said. "I know, for example, the Massachusetts Police Association (has such a policy). I know police officers associated with that organization are working for my campaign."

The Pelletier campaign said some of the endorsements came from executive boards and some of the organizations that endorsed him are umbrella organizations for other groups that also endorsed him.

The fact that Pelletier has received significant support from labor organizations and he has received none, Hodgson said, stems from his involvement in a contract dispute with correctional officers.

"I have to presume that," Hodgson said. "(The correctional officers) were offered as good a contract as anybody in the state and they said it wasn't good enough, and now there are unions coming out and saying the sheriff is not fair."

Pelletier said the fact that the unions, especially the police unions, haven't endorsed the sheriff "is unusual."

"We didn't have to fight too hard for the endorsements," Pelletier said. "They were pouring in, which is nice. It shows there is a problem in the Sheriff's Department."

In a predominately Democratic state and region, both Pelletier and Hodgson said it wasn't surprising that Pelletier had received a number of endorsements from area politicians.

But Hodgson said in his previous race for sheriff in 1998, "there were probably at least twice as many elected officials endorsing (Democratic) opponent (Joseph B. McIntyre)" than there are endorsing Pelletier.

"I'm struck by the fact that there are a number of Democrats that haven't given him their endorsement," Hodgson said.

Hodgson said he couldn't understand how politicians could support Pelletier, considering that he has a criminal record. In 1984, Pelletier was convicted on illegal gaming charges.

"I'm looking for the endorsements of all ... supporters who believe the job of a sheriff ought to be held by someone that has the experience, the record and someone free of any kind of criminal history," Hodgson said. "It's a disappointment to me that any elected official would endorse someone for a chief of police position or sheriff that would have a felony conviction in their past. But this is America, and they have every right to do it."

Hodgson also received support from the Drew Bledsoe Foundation, which teaches a parent education curriculum used across the country, including Bristol County prisons.

Daniel Fowler may be reached at [email protected].
http://www.heraldnews.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13259747&BRD=1710&PAG=461&dept_id=99784&rfi=6
 
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