Sheriff Hodgson: Too much time on his hands


Being sheriff of Bristol County, Mass., is a lot like being lieutenant governor of Rhode Island — the workload leaves many hours to meddle in others’ business.

For Tom Hodgson, being sheriff is a full-time, full-benefits opportunity to root out publicity wherever it can be found. And, like a small-time version of the President he so admires, he’s learned that saying startling things, the more outlandish the better, is the best route to the limelight.

Last week, the US House Committee on Illegal Immigration apparently had nobody better informed than Sheriff Hodgson to listen to at its hearings. And Hodgson, having nothing pressing on his sheriff schedule, was more than happy to head down to Washington to testify.

There he expounded on his latest big idea — arrest the mayors of all sanctuary cities (we’ll figure out the legal niceties and what actually constitutes a sanctuary city later).
“Come and get me,” retorted Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone.
Those who’ve followed the sheriff over many years are accustomed to his brand of nonsense.

A few weeks ago he offered President Trump prisoners from Bristol County jails to help build that great wall along the US-Mexico border. It’s part of what he calls Project NICE (National Inmates’ Community Endeavors).

His efforts at being nice predate this President. One of his first was to ban television, exercise equipment, coffee, orange juice — just about everything from the jails he oversees — to, he said, save some money. He tried charging prisoners $5 a night for their jail stays until a judge shot that down.

And in a later move that lasted just long enough for the photo op, he brought chain gangs to the South Coast. He didn’t call them chain gangs — his description of men shackled together for public labor details was ‘Tandem Work Crews.’

For all his foolishness, Sheriff Hodgson makes one thing clear. Just as Rhode Island would do just fine — and save a bundle — without a lieutenant governor, Bristol County, Mass., can find better ways to spend its money than paying a sheriff.
To paraphrase the late, great Bob Healey who campaigned often to abolish the job of RI lieutenant governor (and almost won once) — ‘We don't need no stinkin' county sheriff.’


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