BOURNE (CBS/AP) – The former state representative whose unsuccessful campaign for Congress was dogged by accusations that while a police officer he failed to properly supervise a subordinate conducting a strip search has been named second in command at the Barnstable County Sheriff’s department.
Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings said Jeff Perry, who lost to Democrat Bill Keating in November, will help with the day-to-day operations of the jail.
The previous Special Sheriff, Pat Bradley, had a serious back injury and retired a couple of years ago.
“The position has been open since then as a result of the ongoing budget situation,” Cummings told WBZ. “I felt I really needed someone now.”
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.
Perry’s salary at the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Department will be $100,000, and he will get use of a sheriff’s department vehicle.
Cummings says he originally spoke with Perry about working for him as Perry was ending his legislative career. No other interviews for the job were conducted.
“He was the only one I had in mind,” Cummings told WBZ.
Cumming said Perry was a police officer for eight years and was also an attorney, so “he has the background” needed for the job.
Sheriff Cummings also mentioned he and Perry have donated to each other’s campaigns over the years. He said he donated about $2,400 to Perry’s congressional campaign and that Perry had donated $600-$700 or more to Cummings’ campaigns for sheriff.
In regards to Perry’s background, Cummings said he hired an independent investigator to specifically look at whether Perry was present during the strip search of a teenager when Perry was a police officer.
Cummings says he wanted two questions answered: was Perry involved in a cover-up and did he watch a young woman be improperly strip-searched. Cumming says the investigator came to the same conclusion as State Police, who also looked into these reports, and that is that Perry had no involvement.
“It’s something I had to put to bed before hiring him,” Cummings said.
OUTRAGE ON THE CAPE
But on the Cape, there is outrage about the hire.
Walter Brooks, the Editor of Cape Cod Today, says, “Our readers on cape cod today have been screaming bloody murder all day… The people are up in arms. I’ve never seen the reaction we’re getting today on Cape Cod today.”
Brooks says people are wondering why the job wasn’t advertised, and why others weren’t interviewed for it.
“We’re very disappointed in the sheriff who has a successful record and has an enormously successful record and is liked by Cape Codders… It just seems crazy that this would happen under today’s econ circumstances on Cape Cod for the sheriffs department, and the state.”
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.
(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)