Bowler Lays Out Campaign Platform
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Candidate for sheriff Thomas N. Bowler has announced a campaign platform focused on increasing public safety, advancing accountability during serious economic times, and bringing a new kind of leadership to the office of sheriff that is based on education, experience and training.
"In today's world, the sheriff must reach out to law-enforcement professionals in Berkshire County and collaborate with them to increase public confidence and develop a true community-based approach to criminal justice," Bowler said. "As a Pittsfield Police detective, I experienced the devastating and costly impact that crime has on families and community. As sheriff, I'll work with passion and dedication to make Berkshire County a safer place to live. By working together, we can produce far more positive outcomes."
Bowler, who has received endorsements from the district attorney, the Berkshire County Police Chiefs, court officers and corrections officers, among others, said that the sheriff's office is in a unique position to help the law enforcement community.
"Step One includes developing a comprehensive means of gathering intelligence from the inmate population and sharing it with local and state police to help their efforts in fighting crime," he said. "Berkshire County has changed dramatically over the last several years, requiring a careful and professional approach to law enforcement that joins every level of criminal justice into a highly-efficient and effective team. I believe the sheriff's office can play a valuable role in a collaborative new approach to reducing crime, and I pledge to help in every way possible."
A police detective and 24-year member of the Pittsfield Police Department, Bowler also served as a deputy superintendent in charge of security at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction. He has an undergraduate and master's degree in criminal justice.
"I've been preparing for this role for most of my adult life," the candidate continued. "I believe I have the background and experience that the job of sheriff requires. The real issue in this campaign is one of leadership - who is best prepared to lead the men and women currently employed at the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction, maintain the safety and security of this facility, collaborate with the county's law enforcement agencies and forge effective alliances with the county's social service agencies who are major players in the lives of those incarcerated at the jail. This has been my world for the last 24 years, and I'm ready to take it to the next level as sheriff."
As a former high-level jail administrator, Bowler said he already understands the process and the enormous responsibility involved in turning around the lives of people who have broken the law. The candidate noted that
there are a multitude of rehabilitation programs already in place at the jail and will not propose any additional initiatives until he has had the chance to assess the value of existing programs. "The state's fiscal crisis means there are far fewer resources to address all serious issues, including adequately funding our schools, programs for the disabled, people out of work and senior citizens. In this economic environment, we need to use what we have to its highest potential and that will take the right leadership."
Bowler said his campaign platform does not include additional spending. "In the last two years, the state has cut the jail's budget by 13 percent. Adequately staffing this facility is now an issue. Building a new lockup and other initiatives proposed by my opponent are currently beyond the means of taxpayers, who ultimately pay the bills," Bowler said. "We need to insist on the most efficient and cost-effective application of resources, which can take far more initiative and creativity than spending money."
Bowler said he will aggressively pursue grants and private funding for worthy initiatives. In addition, he will draw on the expertise of the Berkshire delegation to the State House to ensure that the jail receives adequate state funding.
"No one has a monopoly on politics," Bowler said. "It is the sheriff's role to work with staff to put together the best budget possible and then work with our state legislators to secure funding. This job requires a collaborative effort at every level."
The candidate has spent the last few months on the campaign trail, meeting groups and individuals and talking about his platform, which can be viewed in total at www.tombowlerforsheriff.com. He will participate in three televised debates in August and a countywide radio debate in early September.