RUMFORD — Sheriff Wayne Gallant is one of several law enforcement officials who have applied to be Maine’s newest U.S. marshal.

Gallant, 59, of Rumford, has served in law enforcement for more than four decades, first in the U.S. Army, then as a member of the Rumford Police Department, as chief of the Wilton Police Department, and now is beginning his third year as Oxford County’s sheriff.

“It’s a great position, a great opportunity,” he said Monday afternoon. “I’ve served the public my whole career. To serve the president would speak highly of me and of my community.”

With a new administration coming in on Jan. 20 comes the appointment of 94 U.S. marshals. Maine comprises one marshal’s district, with offices in Portland and Bangor.

The new appointee will replace David Viles, a retired Maine State Police officer.

Gallant said he applied for the position a few weeks ago. He’s not sure when he will be interviewed, but he expects the position will be filled by the time President-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20.

A U.S. marshal oversees a staff of deputy marshals and field marshals. Gallant said he was a special deputy marshal for a couple of years when he served in the Rumford Police Department.

The primary responsibilities of a U.S. marshal include apprehending federal fugitives, protecting federal courts, managing the witness protection program and transporting federal prisoners.

An AP story last week said that among those seeking the position, along with Gallant, are Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion and Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty.

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