The Massachusetts primary is next Thursday, Sept. 8, and two Democrats, Robert W. Ogden and Marc R. Rivers, are in a primary runoff for county sheriff. Neal J. Maciel, an unenrolled candate from Vineyard Haven, will be on the ballot in November. The Gazette emailed customized questionnaires to each announced candidate for office asking them to answer two general questions: why Martha’s Vineyard voters should elect them and what their qualifications were for office. The county office candidates were also asked why the job they are seeking should matter to local voters.

Robert W. Ogden
West Tisbury Democrat
Dukes County Sheriff Candidate


The next sheriff will be faced with the challenges of an ever-evolving community, through a regional agency. For 26 years, I have been promoted through the ranks of the Dukes County sheriff’s office, serving as a correctional officer, supervisor, director and administrator. Throughout my career I strove for excellence, guided by a personal belief in integrity, professionalism, and respect. My leadership qualities and knowledge of the Dukes County sheriff office’s procedures and best correctional practices have garnered me the endorsement of sheriff Michael McCormack and the Dukes County deputy sheriffs. Throughout my career I have been a collaborator, bridging the gap between local government agencies, community services, and the general public. I am uniquely prepared and qualified to assume the responsibilities of this office and represent the best interests of Dukes County as your next sheriff.


I am a 1989 Westfield State University graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement. I have served as a Dukes County deputy sheriff continuously for 26 years. I was promoted to director of the Drug Information Bureau and for 22 years have performed a range of duties including; regional D.A.R.E. Officer, grant writer, community liaison, and DARE operations challenge ropes course project coordinator, manager and counselor. I was elected to seven terms as president of the Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association. I have served several community boards including the M.V. Boys and Girls Club and Martha’s Vineyard Youth Task Force. I founded and served as director of the D.C.S.O. Honor Guard for 22 years. I was also appointed and have served several years on the Sheriff’s Policy Oversight Committee and personnel bylaws development committee. My work as an administrator was recognized by Sheriff McCormack when he appointed me special sheriff, the position I currently hold.

Why Voters Should Care

Voters should care because of the regional public service the sheriff’s office provides to its Island community. We are the house of correction, promoting public safety through management of offenders while providing care and appropriate programming in preparation of successful re-entry into our community. We are also the regional administrator of services which enhance the effectiveness of the courts, local law enforcement, fire, EMS, and community services. We serve the public through: E911 and dispatch communication services, civil process, community corrections diversion programming, a D.P.W. anti-litter program, youth drug prevention and senior citizen safety programs, marine and beach patrol. The sheriff’s office is funded by the commonwealth through your state taxes, if we cease to exist, our hard earned dollars will go off Island and we will lose the ability to rehabilitate our own, as well as, losing the valuable services our community has come to rely on.