Former Somerset Police Chief Announces Run for Sheriff
SOMERSET — Former Somerset Police Chief George McNeil has announced he will be running for Bristol County Sheriff this fall, joining a crowded field of contenders hoping to oust longtime sheriff Thomas Hodgson.
McNeil, a Somerset resident with a 37-year law enforcement career behind him, made the announcement Tuesday morning.
He was the town's police chief for seven years before he resigned in 2021.
The move came after the town's Select Board voted not to renew his contract for reasons that were not disclosed, according to the Herald News.
McNeil joins Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux and Fall River attorney Nicholas Bernier in the race against Hodgson, who has held the seat since 1997 and last ran in 2016 in an uncontested election.
"I believe that I can bring forth modern change and progress to the Bristol County Sheriff's Office, which has been sorely lacking in recent years under Sheriff Hodgson," he said.
McNeil noted that if elected, he would work to reduce "rampant" recidivism rates in the county's correctional facilities by providing addiction and mental health counseling as well as vocational training.
"I want to make sure that the people detained at the facilities have a chance at bettering themselves," he said.
He also promised to address problems with deteriorating infrastructure in the facilities as well as short staffing issues to try to retain more correctional officers.
McNeil previously served as the President of the Bristol County Chiefs of Police Association for over 3 years.
As Somerset Police Chief, he created a "Problem Oriented Policing" unit to address areas of the community with repeat calls for service.
He will be running as a Democrat this fall, meaning he will likely go up against Heroux and Bernier in the Sept. 6 primary, with the winner challenging Hodgson in the general election on Nov. 8.
McNeil will be fighting an uphill battle, as according to data from the state's Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Hodgson's campaign has more than $288,000 at the ready.
Bernier currently has around $7,400 and Heroux just over $17,600 in campaign funds.