Sheriff Gallant sworn in


RUMFORD – Before he was sworn in, Sheriff Wayne Gallant thanked a long list of law enforcement officials and others who had come out to support him at the Hotel Harris on Monday.

After stepping aside to let state Sen. John Patrick, the master of ceremonies, continue, he rushed back to the podium.

The crowd, which filled the lobby, crept up the stairs and spilled into the mezzanine, laughed as Gallant said he forgot to thank the man standing next to him who he was about to appoint chief deputy: Dane Tripp.

“I’m the one who taught him how to use a PI24 in self defense!” Tripp joked, as he pointed to the weapon on Gallant’s belt.

Gallant and Oxford County Treasurer Mary Ann Prue were sworn in by Laura Nokes, clerk of the 11th District Court at the historic Rumford building. About 100 public safety officials, politicians, friends and family attended.

Register of Deeds Jane Rich was supposed to be sworn in at the event, but couldn’t make it because of inclement weather.

Prue has been treasurer for 10 years, and kept her position after a tough race with former county Commissioner Norm Ferguson of Hanover.

The event doubled as a celebration for county Democrats’ success in the last election cycle, said county Democratic Chairwoman Cathy Newell.

Newell said that normally swearing-ins are quiet affairs. This year it was open to the public.

“He (Gallant) is the first sheriff ever elected from Rumford,” Newell said, adding that Prue is from Rumford and Rich is from Andover. “This was a way of saying thank you to the people from the county.”

After Gallant and Prue were sworn in, Gallant officially appointed Tripp as his chief deputy, and he was sworn in.

Tripp’s son, Shawn, whom he had not seen in two years, came from Texas for the ceremony. He and Tripp’s wife, Brenda, pinned a badge on the chief deputy.

After the crowd thinned, Gallant stood toward the bar with his sons. Prue relaxed at the end, having a drink with Nokes.

The bartender offered Gallant a drink, but he gestured down toward his new brown outfit.

“I can’t have a beer; I’m in uniform,” Gallant said, despite the encouragement of his sons Tim, Kevin and Chris.

Both Gallant and Tripp have started moving into their new offices, and will move “full speed ahead tomorrow,” Gallant said.

During the ceremony, after making all his thank-yous, Gallant looked around and said, “I’m really pleased to be a part of this because it’s all hometown people.”

He smiled.

“I am the sheriff of Oxford County.”