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Community Service Tent Program

Barnstable County Sheriff's Office

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office has been providing event tents free of charge to our local municipalities, non-profit organizations, state and federal agencies for the last fourteen years. This valuable program has benefited many of our local organizations, providing shelter for countless events throughout the years.

Unfortunately, we are unable to continue this program due to increasing regulations by towns, security concerns, and the rising costs to replace our aging tents.

The BCSO will honor all commitments already in place for tents for calendar year 2018; however, new requests for tents will no longer be accepted.

Our Community Service Work Crew Program will remain in place for those non-profit organizations, municipalities, state and federal agencies in need of inmate labor to perform services including painting, landscaping, carpentry, roofing, siding, simple construction, demolition, moving services and maintenance. As a reminder, all work performed by BCSO work crews must be on project sites owned by a non-profit organization, a municipality, county, state or federal agency in order to qualify for the program. See our website for more information.

We feel fortunate to have met and worked with so many different organizations throughout the years providing tents for local events. It has been our pleasure helping our Cape Cod Community.


  1. Tent Sizes:
    Available tents are 20’ x 20’, 20’ X 30’, 20’ x 40’ and 40’ x 40’. They are white vinyl tents that are staked into the ground. When figuring tent spacing needs, please allow approximately 5 feet of additional space in each direction, for tent straps and stakes.
  2. Site environment:
    Tent sites must be large enough to accommodate a truck and trailer for the delivery and set up of the tent by the inmate work crews. Tents sites must be clear and level with no overhanging utility wires or low hanging branches. Inmate work crews will leave any job site deemed unsafe or if inclement weather develops.

    Tents require large metal stakes that are hammered into the ground to hold the straps required for tents of this size. If a tent is being set up on pavement, a jack hammer will be used by the work crew to break through the pavement so the stake can be hammered in. The BCSO will fill any holes once the tent is broken down if the requesting agency provides fill for that purpose. It is the requesting agency’s responsibility to oversee tent erection by the BCSO community service work crew for the purposes of stake placement. Once the stakes are placed and the tent erected, the stakes cannot be moved or removed by anyone other than the BCSO community service work crew. The BCSO will not be responsible for any damage done to property by stake placement.

  3. Permits:
    Building permits are required by some towns for tents of this size. The requesting agency/organization must have in place all required building permits prior to set up of tents. It is the requesting agency’s responsibility to obtain and pay for all permits required. The BCSO will not be responsible for compliance with local building codes.
  4. Dig Safe:
    It’s the Law! Dig Safe must be called at least 7 days prior to your event to check for underground utilities. Call 811 to make arrangements with Dig Safe to mark the site for tent placement. Safety of our Community Service Work Crew is a priority and no tent will be set up without utility markers by Dig Safe.
  5. Insurance:
    The BCSO is self-insured relative to any requirements for worker’s compensation insurance.
  6. Certificate of Flame Resistance:
    The BCSO has Certificates of Flame Resistance for all tents borrowed. Please contact the Community Service Program Director if you need a Certificate for your files.
  7. Weather:
    BCSO tents are used to protect from weather, however, some weather conditions may cause a safety hazard. The BCSO will determine if impending weather conditions require early removal or cancellation of a tent.
  8. Care of tents by agency:
    Tents should be monitored by the requesting agency to ensure that tent stakes are not pulling out of the ground and that the straps remain tight. The BCSO must be notified if there are any problems with tents. Any items hung on tent poles must be removed before take down. Tape should not be used on the tent cover, and we ask that you do not mark or write on the tent cover or tent poles. The requesting agency/organization shall be responsible for any damage or loss of tent provided by the BCSO.
  9. Hours:
    Inmate work crews leave the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in Bourne for project sites at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday and must return to the BCCF by 4:30 p.m. each day. No tent set up or take down will begin after 3:00 p.m. without prior BCSO approval.
  10. Rescheduling:
    The BCSO work crews consist of inmates and Deputy Sheriffs who work with and oversee the inmates on projects. At any time, with or without notice, a tent may be cancelled by the BCSO, a work crew may need to immediately leave a tent site, or tent setup/ take down may be cancelled or rescheduled due to weather conditions or BCSO security operations. The BCSO will do its best to adhere to the timeline agreed to but makes no guarantees.
  11. On site agency support:
    All agencies and organizations are required to provide a representative to be on site for the setup and take down of the tent(s) to coordinate with our Deputy Sheriffs.
  12. Supervision:
    Inmates are supervised by a trained BCSO Deputy Sheriff. At all times, BCSO Deputy Sheriffs keep inmates on tent sites and within sight and sound.
  13. Expenses:
    All expenses including materials, licenses, permits, meals provided, etc. related to the BCSO tent program must be borne by agency/organization requesting a BCSO tent.
  14. Meals:
    Inmate work crews that are on site at 11:30 a.m. must be provided lunch by the requesting agency. The requesting agency/organization must pay for and deliver lunch (including drinks) for consumption by the work crew at the project site. Most agencies provide a takeout menu from a local sandwich shop to the Deputy Sheriff overseeing the inmates for them to make a lunch selection. In the event a work crew is on site beyond 4:00 p.m. dinner must be provided for the work crew in the same manner as lunch.
  15. Bathroom facilities:
    A bathroom must be available in close proximity to the tent site for use by the inmate work crew. Inmates are not allowed to enter private homes.
  16. No children present:
    Inmates are prohibited from job sites where children are present. Tent work may be done at a school during off hours or school vacation periods when children are not present.
  17. Other than BCSO staff, no person is allowed to:
    A. Take pictures of inmates.
    B. Talk with an inmate about anything other than project specifics.
    C. Give anything to an inmate.
    D. Oversee or supervise an inmate.
  18. The BCSO reserves the right to attach a sign to the tent acknowledging the BCSO Community Service program. We ask that the sign not be removed by the requesting agency/organization.

If an agency/organization desires to request an event tent and the BCSO has an available tent but no available work crews to set up or take down the tent, the requesting agency may opt to utilize a BCSO Community Service Paid Detail.

This option provides a Deputy Sheriff and inmate work crew to perform a job at a project site under the same parameters as set forth above, however, the agency/organization agrees to pay for the Deputy Sheriff’s services at the hourly detail rate for the current town police department (if your project is in Bourne, you would be billed the detail rate of a Bourne police officer for the hours worked by the Deputy Sheriff.)

No inmate labor will be charged. The requesting agency/organization must pay time and a half for the Deputy Sheriff’s services for any detail shift worked beyond 8 hours. A bill for the detail will be sent directly to the agency/organization and must be paid within 30 days of receipt.

The requesting agency/organization assumes all responsibility for any liability that may arise relative to the work performed by the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office including the erection of any event tents provided by the BCSO.

Further, the requesting agency/organization agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, its employees, inmates, agents, successors, and/or assigns, from any claims, actions, rights of action and causes of action, damages, costs, expenses and compensation from liability for any physical injuries or damages sustained to property which may occur as a result of any work performed or event tents erected by the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, its employees or inmates.

Please call or email the BCSO Community Service Director with any questions:

Phone: 508-563-4305

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