Third candidate joins race for Dukes County sheriff

Sheriff Robert Ogden says inmates are better off inside the Dukes County Jail on Main Street in Edgartown than outside during the pandemic.

Neal Maciel of Vineyard Haven, a retired State Trooper, confirmed Wednesday he will join the race to replace Dukes County Sheriff Michael McCormack, who will retire after 42 years on the job, and 18 years as sheriff.

Two men, both experienced jailers, have announced they are candidates.

Marc Rivers of Oak Bluffs, a retired corrections officer, and Robert Ogden of West Tisbury have filed to be on the ballot on Nov. 8. Both men are running as Democrats, and will face off in the state primary on Sept. 8.

Mr. Maciel said he has filed his papers, and will run as an unenrolled candidate, putting him on the ballot in November.

A three-way race in 2010 saw Mr. Maciel, the former commander of the Island’s State Police barracks, capture 3,261 votes, to 4,529 votes for Sheriff McCormack and 417 votes for retired Oak Bluffs police officer Warren Gosson.

Mr. Maciel told The Times that a number of people urged him to run again. “But I wanted to take my time and make a good decision,” he said.

Mr. Maciel said he thinks the sheriff’s department is in need of new leadership, and he can provide it.

Mr. Rivers retired in 2014 from the sheriff’s department.

Robert “Bob” Ogden of West Tisbury has worked in the sheriff’s department for 26 years. On Feb. 18, Mr. McCormack named him special sheriff — making Mr. Ogden the No. 2 man in the department, and Sheriff McCormack’s immediate replacement should he be unable to complete his term.

The Dukes County sheriff’s department is responsible for the county jail, house of correction, civil process, and the Island communications center, which handles all emergency 911 calls and public safety communications, and fulfills a variety of other duties.