Name: Tom White

Address: Beans Corner, Jay

Age: 60

Occupation: Detective with Franklin County Sheriff Office e

Education: South Portland High School, S.M.V.T.I. electrical studies,

Maine Criminal Justice Academy

FARMINGTON — Thomas White of Jay will run against Scott Nichols of New Sharon on Tuesday, June 12, in the Primary Election to become the Republican candidate for the position of sheriff of Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.

The winner will face Sheriff Dennis Pike of Farmington, who is seeking re-election to the position in the November election.

White, a deputy sheriff since 1987, said he decided to run for sheriff because he believes his extensive experience and knowledge in local, national and international criminal issues establishes a foundation and the credentials necessary to effectively run this sheriff’s office. Another reason is having worked both in the private and public sectors, he said, he has realized that the Sheriff’s Department can become much more effective, at no additional cost to the taxpayer, by changing some of its current policing methods.

Currently the majority of our resource is directed at uniformed patrol functions. Having discussed this at length with local citizens I have come to the conclusion that the people are more interested in having us direct more of our efforts in criminal matters,” White said. “I believe that with our available resources we can satisfy what the citizen wants from us and still maintain a uniformed presence in the communities we serve.”

One of the main issues he believes needs to be addressed is the epidemic of prescription drug abuse and associated crimes and overdose deaths.

My plan is is to form a selective enforcement team to work on this problem exclusively. Their assignment will be to search out the people responsible for the sale of these drugs to our youth,” White said. “Another component to this effort will be to build relationships with the medical, rehabilitation, court and schools” to form a partnership. “Being willing to change how we police today is a key to my promise of lowering our crime rate. Our relationship with the educators, legislators, judicial and rehabilitation communities has been lacking and is critical to the success of this plan.”

On the proposed new $598,300 dispatch building voters will consider Tuesday, June 12, he said, there are many problems with the current building and the need for additional space and better security is sorely needed.

The building committee did a wonderful job getting the cost down and this new building will improve the service provided by our dispatchers,” he said. “New generation 911 equipment will be available shortly and the need for space for that equipment is critical. It is a difficult time to ask for funding but this is one of the most critical functions of public safety.”

White said the county also ran the jail effectively and efficiently prior to the state making it a 72-holding facility.

Prior to 2008, the Franklin County Detention Center was a well maintained facility and funds for repairs were budgeted locally, White said. Funds for repairs are now controlled by the Board of Corrections and repairs are being delayed or not being done because of more pressing needs in other facilities, he said.

The taxpayer in Franklin County owns the jail building in Farmington but have a limited say on the care and upkeep of their multi-million dollar building,” White said. “The 15 Maine county jails were consolidated into the (Board) of Corrections under the authority of the Department of Corrections. When the (board) took over the county jail system the citizens of Franklin County were paying $1.6 million dollars to operate their facility. Our jail at that time was a full service jail with a full complement of corrections officers on each shift with food service, medical care and inmate workers.

In 2008 Franklin and Oxford Counties became the only two “holding facilities” under the authority of the Board of Corrections.

As it stands, White doesn’t believe the jail is as secure as it should be because of it being understaffed and other issues.

The county taxpayer also was required to continue funding the jail at the $1.6 million, 2008 figure set by the BOC. This figure has become the ‘cap’ for our jail,” White said. “For the past four years, we contributed $1.6 million to the consolidated system. Last year our cost to operate the facility was just under $1 million. The balance of $600,000, raised through county tax, was swept into the overall system to fund other jails or programs.”

White believes it is time the sheriff and legislators “challenge the existing law and return to a county system that worked for 173 years here in Franklin County.”

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