Sheriff James M. Cummings

Elected as Barnstable County Sheriff and sworn into office in January 1999, Jim has a Bachelor's Degree in Law Enforcement from Northeastern University and a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Maria College. Born in South Boston, he attended grammar school in Dorchester and high school in Weymouth. After an honorable discharge from the United States Navy, Jim made his home in Falmouth, where he and his wife Rose have raised four children.

Jim began his career in Law Enforcement in 1974, when he entered the State Police Academy in Framingham. After assignments as a uniformed trooper out of the Framingham Barracks and State Police Logan Airport, he was assigned to investigate organized crime in the Boston and South Shore areas. In 1977, he transferred to the Crime Prevention and Control Unit (CPAC), attached to the Office of Cape and Islands District Attorney Phillip A. Rollins. During his many years at this assignment, Jim became a court-qualified expert in matters relating to Organized Crime/Gaming, Narcotics and Arson. He also coordinated and taught at the first homicide school ever offered at the Massachusetts State Police Academy. Jim retired as the Detective Lieutenant in charge of the State Police Detectives covering Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket Counties.

Since being sworn in to his first term of office on January 6, 1999, Sheriff Cummings has made many changes within the organization to enhance the professionalism of law enforcement staff. Every correctional officer employed by the Sheriff’s Office must meet strict hiring standards including a written examination, physical fitness test and oral review. Individuals found to meet these standards attend a specialized ten-week training academy that combines classroom lecture with physical fitness training. The first promotional examination process was also introduced for current employees to ensure law enforcement staff continue their careers with the same momentum of which they began. To further increase public safety within Barnstable County, Sheriff Cummings expanded the K9 Unit and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, started a Warrant Apprehension Unit with state and local police, and converted the former Sheriff’s residence to badly needed office space.

Sheriff Cummings has also undertaken youth prevention programs as a priority. The Sheriff's Youth Ranch is home to the Sheriff’s Youth Academy, a twelve-week program for Barnstable County Youth. Teachers, police officers and parents recommend the youth for the program. The mission of the program is to empower individuals, families and communities to stop violence, substance abuse, delinquency, and crime, thereby preventing adult incarceration by meeting developmental needs positively through effective prevention/intervention services. In addition to the Youth Academy, Sheriff Cummings initiated an Out of School Suspension Program, Inside Program and Outdoor Challenge Ropes Course. In recognition of the strides made to address at-risk youth within Barnstable County, Sheriff Cummings was appointed to the National Sheriff's Association’s Committee for Youth Programs and Juvenile Justice.

The Sheriff has also brought TRIAD to Barnstable County. This program puts the senior population, the local police and the Sheriff together to solve problems with and for the senior community. 12 towns have signed TRIAD agreements and Sheriff Cummings hopes to have all fifteen towns involved with TRIAD.

A formal ground-breaking ceremony was held in September 2002 for the new Barnstable County Correctional facility, a forty million dollar facility located on the Massachusetts Military Reservation in Bourne. The new three hundred cell Barnstable County Correctional Facility is a state of the art, direct supervision facility.

Sheriff Cummings serves on the following Boards:

MA Sheriff's Association VP for Training & Leadership

Otis Civilian Advisory Council Board member

Family Pantry Corporation Trustee

Police Activities League of Cape Cod

Member of the National Sheriffs' Association

Executive Committee of the Regional Emergency Planning Committee

Governor’s Appointee to the MMR Civilian Advisory Council to the Environmental Management Commission

Canal Region Chamber of Commerce Board


Sheriff Cummings is a past member of the following Boards:

Community Action Council

Cape Cod & Islands Council, Boy Scouts of America

National Sheriffs' Assoc. Committee for Youth Programs & Juvenile Justice

National Sheriffs' Assoc. Committee for Crime Prevention

YMCA of Cape Cod

Cape Cod and Islands Youth Council Workforce Investment Executive Board

Advisory Board for Big Brothers and Big Sisters



Honors and Awards . . . (click here)

Sheriff congratulates Navy Chief Petty Officer Joe Gordon, back from Iraq in this picture and now redeployed to Afghanistan.  Also honored at this 2009 ceremony were other Sheriff’s Office employees who have served during Iraq and Afghanistan.  Two of them, Lt. Chip Lindberg and Deputy Scott Bishop have, like Gordon, done two tours.


Sheriff congratulates his 2008 Citizens Academy graduates.


Sheriff Cummings and Eastham Triad, one of a number of affiliated groups that utilize senior citizens to make their hometowns safer.