By Daphne Abeel
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
WATERTOWN, Mass. — Peter Koutoujian sees himself as a good fit as the new Middlesex County sheriff, suggesting that his years of work in the state legislature, his background as a lawyer and prosecutor, as well as work with crime victims have prepared him for this new chapter of his life.
“I was a prosecutor in Middlesex County for five years [1991-1995] under Tom Reilly. I’ve been involved with victims’ rights and worked with a program called REACH, which deals with domestic violence. My degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School is part of my experience, too. I feel that everything I’ve learned has prepared me for this job.”
Koutoujian, 49, is completing the term of the late Middlesex County Sheriff James DiPaola, who tragically committed suicide in late November, after questions were raised regarding his collecting a high salary as well as a yearly pension as a retired police officer. Koutoujian was appointed on January 14 by Gov. Deval Patrick to fill out DiPaola’s term.
Koutoujian had been a state representative until his appointment. He intends to seek a full term as sheriff in November 2012, after he completes DiPaola’s term.
Koutoujian (D-Waltham), who served in the Massachusetts State Legislature since 1996, said he actively sought the appointment when he heard that DiPaola was planning to retire, before his death.