UPDATED: 4 P.M.
Governor Deval Patrick appointed State Rep. Peter Koutoujian, D-Waltham, as the new Middlesex County Sheriff today.
Gov. Patrick made the announcement today at a press conference at Cambridge District Court, located in Medford.
"As a former assistant district attorney and relentless advocate for both crime victims and social services, Peter brings a wealth of expertise, passion and know-how to this critical position," said Governor Patrick. "I look forward to working with him to strengthen our re-entry programs and reduce youth violence."
Koutoujian. 49, will replace the late James DiPaola, who killed himself late last year. Koutoujian currently occupies Middlesex County's 10th district seat, which includes Waltham and parts of Watertown and Newton. Voters re-elected Koutoujian to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for an eighth term in November.
"I thank Governor Patrick for the confidence he has shown in me and look forward to serving the people of Middlesex County in this important capacity," said Rep. Koutoujian. "I will bring the full weight of lessons learned prosecuting criminals as a Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney, fighting for victims' rights and public safety in the Legislature and actively engaging with the community to bear in my new role."
During his service as a Middlesex Assistant District Attorney from 1991 to 1995, Koutoujian handled criminal cases including major felonies and misdemeanors as well as appellate matters in the county's 12 district courts and the Supreme Judicial Court.
As a state representative serving 40,000 constituents in the 10th Middlesex District, Koutoujian has developed, debated and helped pass legislation pertaining to harassment restraining orders, victims' bill of rights, health care reform, courthouse security, prosecutor's right to jury in sexually dangerous person trials and stem cell research, among other successful initiatives.
Koutoukian earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bridgewater State College, and received a law degree from the New England School of Law. He is a life-long Waltham resident and lives in the city with his wife Elizabeth Creda Koutoujian and their three children.
He is a vocal advocate for the Armenian-American community and was the lead sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration. He also spearheaded the effort to create the Armenian Heritage Park, which will be built in the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.
“I have confidence in Peter Koutoujian as our next Middlesex Sheriff, and look forward to working with him as a critical partner to law enforcement and public safety,” Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard T. Leone said. "He brings the necessary attitude and skill sets to this job that will make him an effective Sheriff."
Outside of his political duties, Koutoujian works as an attorney and an adjunct professor of American government and political science at Bentley University.
He also serves as the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Financial Services.
He is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government where he earned a master's degree in public administration.