Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Middlesex, Massachusetts

As a prosecutor, legislator, professor, and law enforcement leader, Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian has worked on the leading issues in public safety and public health throughout his career.

Sheriff Koutoujian holds a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a law degree from the New England School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bridgewater State University. He maintains his academic involvement by continuing to teach criminal justice and leadership courses at several New England area institutions.

While a state representative, Peter Koutoujian oversaw Massachusetts’ healthcare priorities as Chairman of the Committee on Health Care. He advocated for families and frontline workers on issues of mental health, school nutrition, nursing, opioid and tobacco use, suicide awareness, domestic violence prevention, pandemic response, crime profiteering, rape by fraud, and more. He also created and led the state’s first Commission on Oxycontin and Other Drug Abuse as well as the Commission to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities just as these issues were beginning to emerge as crises in public health. His relationships with medical professionals, advocates, and those with lived experience helped drive legislation that made Massachusetts a national leader in healthcare, and inspired the philosophy of service he brought to the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office.

As sheriff, Peter Koutoujian’s use of specialty units has reimagined the correctional landscape. By targeting treatment towards unique populations such as young adults and military veterans, these programs have directly and substantially reduced recidivism in their participants. These results have been published in academic journals, featured by national news outlets, and labeled as best practices by multiple presidential administrations.

More importantly, Sheriff Koutoujian’s commitment to data-driven research has made these programs and their results replicable across the country. In light of his commitment to the profession, Sheriff Koutoujian was elected by his statewide and national peers to serve as both the President of Major County Sheriffs of America and the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association.

Sheriff Koutoujian proudly works with several national organizations on issues essential to public health & safety. He serves on the Board of Directors for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s First Responder Network Authority, the Executive Committee for the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, and the Advisory Board for the States United Democracy Center.

Sheriff Koutoujian has also earned honors as one of the nation’s most prominent Armenian-American officials, including the U.S. Ellis Island Medal of Honor as well as the Mkhitar Gosh Medal and Medal of Gratitude from the Armenian government.

While the Sheriff still lives in his hometown of Waltham, he enjoys traveling to his wife’s hometown in Madrid, Spain with Elizabeth and their three children: Peter, Cristian, and Isabel.

Why Sheriff Koutoujian joined CSSE:

“This committee is a place where law enforcement and election officials can establish open lines of communication so we can determine how to best support each other and voters in this new threat environment. This mission has a personal dimension for me. My dad was a city clerk. Elections were a central and cherished part of his job. I joined this committee to ensure that today’s election officials can keep America’s elections running safely and securely, just like he did.”

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    “Election officials are the heroes of our democracy, working harder than almost anyone I know to ensure that every one of us can exercise our fundamental right to vote. The intimidation and threats against these dedicated officials and their families must stop."

    Kathy Boockvar
    Vice President of Election Operations and Support, Center for Internet Security
    Kathy Boockvar
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    “Democracy can only survive and thrive if we respect and protect its values and principles. Elected officials must respect those they serve, freely act within their elected authority and act on behalf of a nation that ensures their safety so they may make decisions without fear or intimidation. That is a true democracy."

    Sheriff Paul Penzone
    Maricopa County, Arizona
    Sheriff Paul Penzone
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    “Access to the ballot should not be stymied in any manner, nor should we ever lose valuable election officials because they are worn down from harassment, fear, threats and undue job hardships created to alter public faith in the electoral process. "

    Kathy Holland
    Director of Elections, Alamance County North Carolina (Ret.)
    Kathy Holland
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    “I joined the committee because I took an oath, along with my law enforcement colleagues, to protect and serve all persons, which is in alignment with my personal values and morals. "

    Captain Harold Love
    Michigan State Police (Ret.), Owner and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Harold L. Love & Associates
    Captain Harold Love
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    “The 2020 election cycle brought many challenges for election officials, but the most shocking for me were the death threats, verbal assaults, intimidation, and scare tactics. I am one of the election officials that had my life and the lives of my family members threatened, and the threats have not ceased."

    Tina Barton
    Senior Elections Expert, The Elections Group
    Tina Barton
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    “There are many issues that have become politicized, but ensuring the safety of election workers should never be. These are the people responsible for overseeing the democratic process that serves as the foundation of our republic."

    Jonathan Bydlak
    Director, Governance Program, R Street Institute
    Jonathan Bydlak
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    “My dad was a city clerk. Elections were a central and cherished part of his job. I joined this committee to ensure that today’s election officials can keep America’s elections running safely and securely, just like he did."

    Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian
    Middlesex County, Massachusetts
    Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian
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    “Election officials are unsung heroes of American democracy—they make sure our system operates as intended. Threats to these public servants are an attack on democracy itself. Law enforcement and election officials working together can help chart a safer and more secure path forward for future elections."

    Orion Danjuma
    Counsel, Protect Democracy
    Orion Danjuma
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    “As a country, we must protect election officials to keep our elections secure and fair. Law enforcement and election officials must work together to keep this new threat from interfering in our elections."

    Neal Kelley
    Registrar of Voters (Ret.) Orange County, California
    Neal Kelley
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    “As an election official who experienced the verbal threats and intimidation directed at me and my staff I feel I must be a voice on this committee to work with law enforcement to address this issue."

    Joseph Gloria
    Registrar of Voters, Clark County, Nevada
    Joseph Gloria
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    “Election workers are the guardians of our democracy, and attacks on them for doing their jobs are unacceptable. I’m proud to stand with and in support of this group of law enforcement and election officials, who are working on practical solutions to keep our elections safe and secure."

    Larry Norden
    Senior Director, Elections & Government, Brennan Center for Justice
    Larry Norden
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    “I have joined this committee because I believe in the mission and have full confidence that we will develop practices that are results driven and further strengthen the pipeline between law enforcement and election officials."

    Derek Bowens
    Director of Elections, Durham County, North Carolina
    Derek Bowens