BOSTON (SHNS) – Three of the state’s 14 county sheriffs are former state representatives, and Rep. Timothy Whelan hopes to add his name to that list next year. Whelan, a Brewster Republican elected to the House in 2014, announced last week that he is running for Barnstable County sheriff, a seat that will become open with the retirement of Sheriff Jim Cummings.
Cummings announced on Sept. 30 that he planned to retire after 24 years in office. Combining his tenure as sheriff and his 23 years with the State Police, a summer as a Falmouth police officer, and two years of active duty in the Navy, Cummings said he’s had a 50-year career in public service.
“Jim has served with great honor and distinction. I am running to bring my considerable law enforcement training and skills of over 26 years to the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office,” Whelan said in a statement. “My experience as a Sergeant on the State Police and working previously as a county corrections officer provide me the needed skills to do the job of Barnstable County Sheriff effectively on Day One.”
In his candidacy announcement, Whelan touted support he has received from law enforcement groups, including being named legislator of the year by the Massachusetts Police Association in 2019, and by both the Massachusetts Correctional Officers Federated Union and the Massachusetts State Police Commissioned Officers Association in 2018.
He served on the conference committee that negotiated last year’s policing reform bill, but did not sign on to the committee’s compromise bill or vote in favor of it. Whelan did vote for a final version of the legislation that included amendments proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Sheriffs Chris Donelan of Franklin County, Peter Koutoujian of Middlesex County and Lew Evangelidis of Worcester County have all served in the House.