Sheriff Thomas Bowler takes office

(The following is the text of Sheriff Bowler’s inauguration address January 5, 2011)

Almost a year ago today, we began our journey. People with great confidence in me joined our campaign, and together we prevailed. Today marks the end of that journey and the beginning of a new era for me, my wonderful family and the people of Berkshire County.

I would like to extend my profound and sincere appreciation to everyone who demonstrated such deep faith in me, and I pledge once again that I will work diligently everyday that I am Sheriff of Berkshire County to return your confidence.

When I launched this campaign, I told you that I was a public servant and that if I was elected I would run the Sheriff’s Department as is should be run — as a reliable partner to law enforcement agencies, social service providers and the courts. Beginning today, we will come together collaboratively and utilize each other as a resource. In this dire economy, collaboration is the only way to effectively advance the duties of the Sheriff’s Department and best serve the people of our community.

We are now experiencing a level of crime and violence in our cities and towns that can no longer be tolerated. We can’t reclaim any ground without first stopping the slide.

I envision the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office, state and local law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals and educators all working together to reduce the level of violence, the incidence of crime and repeat offenders in our community.

I will also pledge to work successfully with the Berkshire delegation all the way to the State House so that the needs of this community are certainly met.

As Sheriff, I will draw the line in the sand with the other law enforcement officials with violent offenders. I will lead the Sheriff’s Department the only way I know how, and that will be by example. And I will serve the public as I have for 24 years —honestly and honorably.

Now comes the hard part.

To my mom and dad, who have been watching over all of us, thank you very much.

To my beautiful family and my wonderful group of friends, it was all of you that gave me the strength and the courage to keep going. Thank you very much.

To all my campaign volunteers — we took on a challenge that nobody has done in 30 years, and this could not have happened without you.

To my brothers and sisters of the Pittsfield Police Department — working with such a remarkable group of individuals has been the greatest experience of my life. I’ve learned so much from each and every one of you, and in return I hope that I have been of some help to you over the years. I know your jobs, your challenges and your great responsibility to protect and serve the community. So I ask all of you to please, stay safe.

To the hard working men and women of the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department — I told you during this campaign that the best years were ahead. Your best years have arrived.

Thank you all and God bless.