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.”