Hampden County residents to elect Sheriff Ashe’s replacement

Democratic candidate for Hampden County sheriff Nick Cocchi is seen at left, with independent candidate James Gill at right. Republican candidate John Comerford is not pictured.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – For the first time in more than four decades, Hampden County residents will elect a new sheriff. The three candidates for Hampden County Sheriff are Nick Cocchi, James Gill and John Comerford.

Cocchi and Gill both work at the jail. Comerford is the director of the Eastern Hampden County Veterans’ Service District.

22News spoke with retiring Sheriff Michael Ashe earlier and he said that the biggest issue facing the next sheriff will be substance abuse and the opiate crisis. “Substance abuse is the scourge of our society,” Ashe said. “When you look at crime–crimes to property, violence–it always stems substance abuse.”

The Hampden County Sheriff’s dept receives more state money than any other sheriff’s dept in the state. Ashe believes that trend can continue. “I’ve been successful because of the credibility of the department. Our mission, I’m always saying to the staff, is that good management is good politics.”

Continuing Coverage: Decision 2016

Sheriff Ashe says that he’ll still be involved with different programs once he retires.