After 35 years, change is on the horizon. Soon, our organization will no longer be known as Cocheco Valley Humane Society or CVHS. Beginning July 1, 2019, we will officially be known as Pope Memorial Humane Society.

Our new name comes during a time of great transformation for our organization. Not only will we have a new name, but a new logo and brand-new facility




Welcome you to the Strafford County website. Whether you are a current, past, or prospective resident, we hope you enjoy your visit to our virtual home.

County Functions and Responsibilities

The County is currently responsible for: Caring for the elderly in need of nursing home care at Riverside Rest Home; operating a regional jail/house of correction, together with a jail industries program, community corrections program, drug and mental health courts, and a transitional housing program; the County Attorney oversees and provides for the prosecution of criminals; operates a domestic violence unit, child advocacy center, and family justice center; the Sheriff oversee and handles the transportation of criminals, delivery of writs and other Court-related paperwork, operates a Communications and Dispatch Center, and oversees Courthouse security; the Register of Deeds is responsible for the recording of official land transfer documents at the Registry; the Treasurer, together with the Commissioners, oversee the payment of all County financial obligations; as well as a variety of other community-related programs to assist the citizens of the County.

County Government’s Structure

The structure of County government today is modeled after a basic three-branch system of government. The three County Commissioners make up the Executive branch, with responsibility for the day‑to‑day operations of County government, in both fiscal and policy matters. In Strafford County, the Commissioners are elected for two-year terms, at large, meaning from anywhere in Strafford County.

By virtue of election to the State House, a Representative also becomes a member of the County Delegation, which in many counties meets several times a year. The Delegation works primarily on matters of budgeting, exercising its responsibility for appropriating money for County use, which makes up the Legislative branch of County government. It is likely that relatively few New Hampshire voters realize that when they elect their Representatives to the State House of Representatives they are also making them the legislative authority of their County.

Current County Events

Strafford County is made up of three cities: Dover, Rochester, and Somersworth; and ten towns: Barrington, Durham, Farmington, Lee, Madbury, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Rollinsford, and Strafford, and is home to approximately 125,000 citizens. There are ten (10) counties in New Hampshire, of which Strafford County is the fourth largest in population. According to the 2010 Census the County's population was estimated at 123,143, with 80% of the population over the age of 18 and a median age of approximately 34. Strafford County's estimated racial/ethnic composition in 2010 was 94% White, 1% Black or African American, 3% Asian, and 0.2% American Indian or Alaskan Native, with the remainder of the population being made up of small percentages of other races. Individuals of Hispanic or Latino origin comprised almost 2% of the County’s population. There were 46,576 households reported in 2006-2010. The Census also found that the median household income in the County was $57,809.

A Brief History of Strafford County Government

County Government in New Hampshire began in 1771 with five (5) counties: Rockingham, Strafford, Hillsborough, Cheshire, and Grafton. Strafford County was organized at Dover in 1771 and was named after William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford. Today, the County borders on Belknap, Carroll, Merrimack, and Rockingham Counties in New Hampshire and York County in Maine. The Court system was once a part of County Government, but is now operated by the State of New Hampshire. Roads, which were also previously the responsibility of the County, are now cared for by the State of New Hampshire or the city or town in which they are located. The State Department of Health and Human Services provides services to assist families and juveniles with behavior problems. These services were also provided by the County at one time.

We hope this little synopsis of County government has enlightened you as to the workings at this level of government in New Hampshire. For further information on individual offices and departments within the County, please go to their web page.


Very truly yours,

Strafford County Commissioners

George Maglaras

George Maglaras, Chairman

 Robert J. Watson

Robert J. Watson, Vice Chairman

 Deanna Rollo

 Deanna Rollo, Clerk

County Corrections Dept. cited for accessibility Receives one of six governor’s awards for its treatment of people with disabilities


By Dylan Morrill

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Superintendent of the Strafford County Department of Corrections Bruce Pelkie, left, and Assistant Superintendent of Programs at the Strafford County Department of Corrections Jake Collins, center, receive the Governor’s Accessibility Award from Gov. Maggie Hassan.
(Courtesy photo)

DOVER — The Strafford Department of Corrections recently received a prestigious award from Gov. Maggie Hassan for its treatment of people with disabilities. The department was one of six New Hampshire organizations or individuals presented a Governor’s Accessibility Award from the New Hampshire Commission on Disability in July.

“We do this annually,” said Carol Conforti-Adams, Information and Referral Specialist for the Governor’s Commission on Disability. “We recognize people that have accomplished leadership within a businesses or an organization that supports independence inclusion and accessible environments and services for individuals with disabilities.”

In early July, the Strafford Department of Corrections was chosen as one of only a half-dozen recipients the Accessibility Award, which have been given out yearly since 2011. On July 23, awards were presented in the Executive Council Chamber of the N.H. Statehouse.

“It was an honor to go up and receive it from the governor,” said Bruce Pelkie, superintendent of the Strafford County Department of Corrections. “It just recognizes we truly are a facility that cares.”

Courtesy photo Members of the Strafford County Department of Corrections pose with Gov. Maggie Hassan. From left are Superintendent Bruce Pelkie, Assistant Superintendent of programs Jake Collins, Medical Administrator Tracy Warren, Hassan, Criminal Justice coordinator Carrie Lover, Security and Operations Lieutenant Chris Brackett, Community Corrections Office Manager Denise Morin, and Training Sgt. Robert Hayden. In front is Dr. Candace Cole-McCrea.

The Strafford County Department of Corrections is the first correctional facility to receive a Governor’s Accessibility Award. “We were very taken back by the comprehensive integrative approach they had with their volunteers,” said Conforti-Adams. “It’s the overall philosophy of the institution to really address all needs of all people.”

In a nearly 1,000-word nomination written by a Dr. Candace Cole-McCrea, who teaches at the Strafford Department of Corrections, the department was lauded for its accommodations for people with disabilities, and also for its rehabilitation programs for inmates.

“I must use a wheelchair to be mobile,” said Cole-McCrea in the nomination. “In the past few years, during my time at Strafford County Department of Corrections, I have recognized services, supports and accommodations beyond legal mandate, both for my continued work there and on behalf of inmates with various disabilities.” Cole-McCrea went on to highlight various rehabilitation programs — including substance abuse counseling, life skills training, domestic relations training, and anger management — used by the Strafford Department of Corrections.

“Opportunities are developed, using person-centered planning, to assist any inmate to benefit from college prep course and career development,” said Cole-McCrea in the nomination. “There is no age, race, or nationality barrier.”

According to Pelkie, several of the rehabilitation programs — which have been mostly in place since 1999 — have successfully decreased recidivism rates. He says other correctional facilities have similar programs, but he wants the Strafford County correctional facility to do it best. “What we don’t want to do is be a revolving door,” said Pelkie. “We’re past the days when we lock them up and throw away the key. There’s nothing gained in that.”

There were a total of 16 nominations for the Governor’s Accessibility Award. Other winners included a museum, a university, and a church. “The most important thing is caring about people,” said Pelkie. “About all people. Everybody’s equal.”