Patrick mcdermott sheriff (copy)

Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott.

Every month has its fair share of holidays and observances, and May is no exception. But one of the things that sets May apart from other months is the number of days dedicated to honoring those whose job it is to keep all of us safe and thriving. Whether it’s National Correctional Officers Week (May 2-8), International Firefighters Day (May 4), National Teacher Day (May 4), National Nurses Day (May 6), Mother’s Day (May 9), National Police Week (May 9-15), National EMS Week (May 16-22) or Memorial Day, May is full of days to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of those who put the needs of others first in order to make us safer.

As sheriff, my top priority is the public safety of each and every person in Norfolk County, but I know that the sheriff’s office cannot ensure this on its own. This is why the types of professionals honored this month, whether correctional officers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, police, or emergency medical service personnel, are all part of a vital tapestry of public service providers keeping us safe, informed, and healthy.

Indeed, at the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office alone, we make use of all of these professionals.

Correctional officers keep the public and those in our custody safe. Our top-notch medical and health services team administers much-needed medical care and educates offenders about making good decisions related to their health. And our programming and educational services are taught by educators from a wide variety of personal and professional backgrounds, ensuring that offenders have the skills necessary to make good decisions when they’re released from our custody.

In short, this is what the “care” in “care and custody of offenders” means at the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office. Many people are familiar with the “custody” part of that charge, but without the care that we provide, true rehabilitation would be impossible.

Indeed, I see “care” as extending to the whole of Norfolk County. This is why we provide free public services, from our senior programming that helps seniors feel safe and live independently to our comprehensive youth programming that teaches youth how to make good decisions and identify risks.

It’s why we run the Youth Leadership Academies (in Braintree, but also being piloted this year in Franklin) to give young residents an opportunity to take risks and develop leadership skills in a safe, controlled environment. And it’s why I am seeking out opportunities to partner with nonprofits, community-led organizations, and unions to make sure that everyone has access to the kinds of support networks they need to live and thrive in Norfolk County.

As sheriff, I want to make sure that everyone feels safe and secure — not just safe during a time of crisis, but the feeling of security that comes with being able to envision a productive future.

Part of imagining that future is knowing that there are those in our communities committed to helping make it a reality. As we approach the end of May, I hope you join me in taking a moment to consider the impact of public service employees have on you. Whether it’s the teachers who encourage a passion that develops into a career, the nurses who administer care when you need it the most, the correctional officers, firefighters, police officers, and EMS personnel who are prepared for any emergency, or service members who risk their lives to defend us, we owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have dedicated their lives to making our lives better.

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