BARNSTABLE—There’s a new sheriff in town. OK, that might be a cliché from an
old movie, but it bears repeating because the new sheriff also happens to be the
first woman ever elected as sheriff of Barnstable County, bringing the total number
of female sheriffs in Massachusetts to two.

That fact and many of the plans and initiatives Buckley announced drew cheers
and applause from a capacity crowd as she was sworn in as the 35th Barnstable
County Sheriff on Wed., Jan 4 at the Tilden Arts Center, set on the campus of
Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable.

Buckley announced her first order of business would to be end the 287(g)
agreement, a contract between the sheriff’s office and U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) that has allowed deputies to interrogate incarcerated
people about their immigration status and hold those in violation for referral to
ICE and possible deportation.

Buckley then turned to the topic of addiction and mental illness on the Cape,
noting that incarceration often exacerbates these problems instead of mitigating
them, acknowledging a few audience members whose relatives succumbed to
their addictions while in jail.

“A sentence to our jails shouldn’t be death sentence,” Buckley said. “We are in a
crisis of addiction and mental health, and we need to provide pathways to
correction and rehabilitation.”

Buckley cited a “robust commitment” to addiction treatment, putting addicted
inmates on the road to recovery before they head home. She mentioned restoring
the “Tent” program, wherein inmates constructed and dismantled tents for the use
of local nonprofits, as well as offering inmates more opportunities to work, again
to prepare them for life outside of jail.

Buckley also praised her predecessor, James Cummings, and addressed her
fellow sheriffs on the Cape.

“I woke up today with 13 new brothers,” she told them.