Why is the Sheriff's race in Hampshire County important and why is change necessary in 2022?

"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten." This is an oft-repeated principle of substance-abuse recovery groups, meaning--if you really want to break free of your addiction, you have to be willing to break the behavior patterns that got you to this point.

But change is hard, no matter how necessary it might seem. It never feels easy, or comfortable. And if the need for change doesn't seem urgent or entirely necessary, the typical response for most of us is to just let things continue as they are. Why is the Sheriff's race in Hampshire County important and why is change necessary in 2022? The first clue that is getting many voters' attention is that 3 former employees of the HSO are taking the extraordinary step of challenging an incumbent Sheriff, always an uphill climb (only 5 of the 14 races are being challenged; in 2016 no incumbent lost his seat). All 3 of us have worked under this administration. Deciding to run is not a light or quick decision. It is extremely costly in both time and money; none of us have the war chest of the incumbent, currently $87,000+ last I checked. If you go to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance at https://www.ocpf.us/home you can see the contributors and amounts for any of us, and I encourage you to monitor this as the campaign unfolds. According to the ACLU's "Know Your Sheriff" campaign, Sheriffs are rarely challenged because so few people know who they are, what they do, how much power or influence they have, or why this matters. 3 private citizens are saying to the voters of Hampshire County: "I am willing to sacrifice significant time and personal funds to bring your attention to this issue. It matters." I can certainly wax poetic here and paraphrase some of the ideas of the Declaration of Independence (ever the History and Political Science fan) where the authors said various forms of "If this were tolerable, we would--but we can't." And I think that's what the challengers of this race are saying, and the ACLU is saying. It matters. And this isn't tolerable. Hampshire County, we can do better. MUCH better. We can create a facility where justice-involved individuals get the education and job skills they need, along with the evidence-based and current substance-abuse treatment and support services to help them stabilize after release so that they do not choose to re-offend. We can create a work environment where the staff has the resources and internal support they need to do these difficult jobs and are recognized for doing them well, instead of being driven to leave. And we can be accountable to the communities we serve by communicating openly and transparently as we commit to being fiscally, socially-justice, environmentally responsible, and more. Hampshire County deserves a Sheriff's Office that is an engaged partner in progressive Corrections practice and is able to meet the needs of the 21st century. #KnowYourSheriff