With 2022 in the rear-view mirror and 2023 upon us, I want to take this opportunity to share important priorities I will address as the newly elected Sheriff of Waldo County.
Before discussing priorities, I would like to say how grateful I am to serve as your Sheriff. Having grown up in Waldo County and being a 28-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, I am deeply committed to improving the health and safety of our community. My career at the Sheriff’s Office has given me a profound respect for the Office of Sheriff. As the only elected law enforcement official in the country, the Office of Sheriff holds a special place closely connected to the citizens they serve.
While running for office in 2022 I had the opportunity to talk with many community members across Waldo County. I heard from many of you about the issues that concern and impact your quality of life and sense of safety. These conversations, and the concerns you shared, will be at the core of the work we will do over the coming years.
A major concern focuses on traffic safety in Waldo County that covers nearly 800 square miles. The approximately 2,000 yearly traffic stops make a modest impact on the problem. In 2023 the Sheriff’s Office will be adding two additional patrol deputies to our roster. The priority of new patrol deputies will focus on traffic enforcement responsibilities. These duties will include traffic details targeting speeding, distracted driving, impaired driving, traffic accident investigation, as well as other efforts. With a greater emphasis placed on traffic enforcement, it is our goal to create a higher degree of awareness and compliance with traffic laws; thereby, creating safer roadways for all of us.
Another major concern is attributed to substance abuse. The far-reaching personal and social impact of addiction, deaths caused by overdoses, and criminal behavior associated with alcohol and illegal drug use are not overstated. Although these issues are not unique to Waldo County, it is imperative that we continue to build a comprehensive community-based response to these issues. It is my belief that a balanced approach of prevention and enforcement, coupled with a community-based response to addiction, is necessary if we are to make a meaningful impact. The Sheriff’s Office currently has one FULL TIMEemployee assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. It is my goal to have a second agent assigned to bolster our efforts to stop the flow of illegal substances into Waldo County. The Sheriff’s Office has also worked extensively with community partners to expand outreach and capacity for prevention, awareness and treatment of addiction across the county. It is my intention to explore new approaches and expand our efforts in each of the above areas with the ultimate goal of a safer and healthier county.
Another area that will remain a high priority for me will be community engagement. It is my belief that reaching our ultimate goal of enhanced public health and safety is best achieved through a community effort. It has been my experience that we have made our greatest impacts through community-based partnerships and collaborations. It is essential for the personnel of the Sheriff’s Office to be actively engaged members of our community and as your Sheriff, I want the community to understand that they play a crucial role in our success!
These are only several areas in which I will focus our efforts in the coming years. To effectively enhance public safety, we will have to continuously evaluate the issues that impact the health and safety of our community and take a broad and comprehensive look at options to address those issues. As your NEWLY-ELECTED Sheriff I look forward, with a great sense of gravity and gratitude, to the work ahead.