Jan. 24, 2010
WOOD'S HOLE — Jeffrey Perry has a new job. The former state representative from Sandwich unsuccessfully ran last fall to fill the seat of Congressman Bill Delahunt during a bruising campaign in the 10th Congressional District. Now, he he's been hired as the number two man at the Barnstable County Sheriff's Office.
Barnstable County Sheriff Jim Cummings says Perry will serve as "special sheriff" of Barnstable County, the department's second-in-command. He'll get a yearly salary of $110,000.
Cummings says Perry will assume the sheriff's responsibilities during vacations or if the he is ever incapacitated. He will also assist with department contractual work and day-to-day operations.
"Jeff's qualifications as a former police officer, as a state representative for 8 years and as an attorney are all qualities and experiences I think will be beneficial to us here at the sheriff's office," Cummings said.
But Cummings, who is also a Republican, acknowledged that it's Perry's law enforcement experience that came under the most scrutiny during his failed bid for Congress.
Cummings says he hired a retired FBI agent to look into allegations raised during the campaign from the early 1990s, when an officer under Perry's command illegally strip-searched two teenage girls. In one of those incidents, a 14-year-old girl was strip-searched when Perry was allegedly standing nearby. The officer later pleaded guilty to indecent assault. No charges were filed against Perry, who said he heard and saw nothing illegal.
"For my own purposes, I hired an outside contractor, an outside investigator, to investigate that Wareham incident. And I wanted two questions answered: Was Jeff Perry involved in any type of coverup in either of those incidents? And did Jeff Perry stand by while any teenage girl was strip searched?" Cummings said. "And the investigation showed that there was no evidence to substantiate either of those claims."
The position of "special sheriff" is required by state law, and Cummings said that in recent years a Sheriff's Department employee has held the position on paper only, as part of his regular duties. The $110,000 yearly salary paid to Perry will be a new expenditure, but Cummings says that with his State House experience, Perry should be able to communicate the department's needs to legislators and help the Sheriff's Department negotiate the budget process.
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