Democratic candidates’ running for Hampden County Sheriff debate

22News devoted one hour of air time on The CW Springfield

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The three Democrats running for Hampden County Sheriff defined their differences, Monday night, in a debate at the 22News studios.

Michael Albano, Nick Cocchi and Tom Ashe were asked if they’d make changes to the Administrative Staff at the Hampden County Jail in Ludlow.

Ashe: “The hierarchy is top heavy. There are currently thirty assistant superintendents and assistant deputy superintendents employed at the sheriff’s department, and they’re high quality, but that’s a lot. In Worcester County, there are currently eight.”

Albano: “Is it wholesale getting rid of everybody? No. Everybody will be evaluated. But clearly you want changes, and that’s what elections are all about. What I want to do is bring the very best and brightest into the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, but with a new vision.”

Cocchi: “I’ve grown up at the Sheriff’s department. I’ve worked side-by-side with these men and women. I know each and every one of their talents, and when I tell you, trust me, they are very talented.”

VIDEO: A Democratic Hampden County Sheriff Debate

There was disagreement over the placement of the Alcohol and Addiction Correctional Center in a neighborhood on Mill Street.

Albano: “As a former mayor, I can tell you it’s a wrong land use to put a correctional center in that location. I also opposed it in the North End. My plan is to bring the correctional center back to Ludlow and to utilize Mill Street as a Public Health Center.”

Cocchi: “82% of all people incarcerated in Hampden County have a substance abuse issue. The addiction center is necessary, and we’ve had 17,500 people go through our addiction center. We are saving lives, and we will continue to save lives on Mill Street.”

Ashe: “Having worked at the Sheriff’s department for 10 years, I know the positive aspects of the work that was being done at the old Howard Street facility. And I know that the placement of this facility in Mill Street will do great things for that neighborhood.”

Voters will narrow the field of Democrats running for Sheriff from three to one in the primary election on September 8th.

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