Berkshire Eagle: “Harrington has begun her journey as the county’s chief law enforcement officer on the right foot”
Throughout the bruising two-phased campaign for Berkshire County district attorney that ended on Nov. 6, the main criticism of candidate Andrea Harrington was that she lacked prosecutorial and management experience. Now that Ms. Harrington is the DA-elect, she has begun to earn the confidence of the Berkshire legal community and residents at large with two key appointments to help implement her broad vision of change for the office she will head.
Ms. Harrington, the first women ever to occupy the Berkshire DA’s office, has named a woman to be her first assistant (another first). Karen Bell, the long-serving Hampden County assistant DA who most recently served as a member of that office’s Superior Court Homicide Unit, is an ADA with 20 years’ worth of experience covering all areas of prosecution. Her varied experience should serve her well in the position, which will concentrate on supervising Superior Court prosecutions. A deputy district attorney yet to be named will handle administrative, outreach and district court matters.
The DA-elect also tapped a retired Supreme Judicial Court judge, the venerable Francis X. Spina, to lead her transition team. It would be difficult to find anyone more qualified to lead the team than Judge Spina, a Richmond resident who helped establish the Berkshire DA’s office as an assistant prosecutor from the date of its inception in 1978. Judge Spina served as a Superior Court judge, where he interacted with DAs throughout Western Massachusetts. Subsequently he attained judgeships on the Massachusetts Appeals Court and Superior Court before being chosen to the state’s highest court.
With this solid foundation to build upon, Ms. Harrington will have a freer hand to develop the ideas that helped secure her electoral victory — greater outreach by her office to the community, preventative programs to discourage criminal activity before it occurs and diversionary, rehabilitation-oriented programs for youth as an alternative to incarceration.
The choice of Ms. Bell underscores Ms. Harrington’s insistence during the campaign that along with her outreach and prevention programs she would run an office that continues to be tough where it needs to be. Judge Spina will help ensure that the complicated and interdependent machinery of the office will run smoothly under its new chief.
DA Paul Caccaviello, who lost a primary bid as well as a subsequent write-in election campaign against Ms. Harrington, deserves a tip of the hat for his continued cooperation and exemplary citizenship in helping ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible. Ms. Harrington graciously acknowledged him as “an incredible resource throughout the process.”
At a time when Berkshire County faces a rise in crimes of all types, Ms. Harrington has begun her journey as the county’s chief law enforcement officer on the right foot.