FARMINGTON – Partial results of the Franklin County Sheriff's race late Tuesday night showed Republican Scott Nichols Sr. of New Sharon winning in a close race with Sheriff Dennis Pike of Farmington.
With seven towns reporting, the unofficial tally was 5,063 to 4,724 in Nichols' favor.
Pike, a non-affiliated party candidate, took his hometown of Farmington by a vote of 1,949 to 1,785. Jay voted 1,298 for Pike to 1,172 for Nichols. Pike also took Sandy River Plantation by a vote of 47-33.
Nichols took his hometown with 510 votes to Pike's 320. Nichols also took Wilton by a vote of 1,277 to 945, and Coplin Plantation by a vote of 55-26. He also won Eustis by a vote of 231-139.
The winner will begin serving a four-year term Jan. 1, 2013.
Pike, 74, has been a law enforcer for 46 years. He has been sheriff for 12 years. Nichols, 51, has been in law enforcement for about 28 years and is currently serving as Carrabassett Valley police chief. He retired from the Maine State Police after serving 23 years in various positions, including detective and state trooper.
Pike, if elected, will have current Franklin County Chief Deputy Raymond Meldrum continue in that position. Nichols, if elected, has chosen Franklin County Sgt. Steven Lowell as his chief deputy.
Pike said previously his priorities include continuing the five-year trend of a high crime clearance rate. He also planned to continue "call sharing" with Maine State Police that was established in the late 1990s and renewed in January 2001.
He plans to continue Operation Stonegarden with the U. S. Border Patrol, an effort to enhance police coverage and visibility in northern Franklin County resulting in nearly a 40 percent reduction in reported crimes, over the past four years, he said.
Pike said he will also “continue the effort to return the Franklin County Detention Center to a full service jail and retain our Franklin County tax dollars, here in Franklin County.”
He will also plan to see the construction of the newly authorized Franklin County Communication Dispatch Center completed and operational, he said.
Nichols said, if he's elected he would establish his command staff and have deputies spend more time in the rural areas of the county.
“We will strengthen the call sharing agreement with the Maine State Police that will ensure that deputies and troopers work as a team,” Nichols said. “That teamwork will open communication between the agencies and guarantee quicker, more efficient police response when an event occurs. We will then work to re-establish our jail.”
Pike said he will continue oversight of operations and delegate constantly changing duties and training for corrections, dispatch, investigations and patrol, to the most qualified, experienced supervisors, officers, on his staff.
Nichols said starting day one, time will be spent observing current operations, identifying what works and what does not work.
“My command staff will assist reorganizing, making plans and setting measurable goals, constantly re-evaluating employee performance,” he said. “This executive style of leadership eventually transitions into a democratic style where more employees are involved in the decision-making process.”