PARIS — The Republican challenger in the race for Oxford County sheriff said he embraces common-sense reform that balances tapayers’ security with their wallets.

Upton resident Mike Parshall, 54, is seeking the four-year position and said if he is elected taxpayers “are going to feel like the money (they’re) spending translates into better law enforcement.”

Becoming sheriff, Parshall said, presents a “dream job” that would merge his four decades of police experience with his savvy as a business owner to reduce waste and overhaul local and statewide practices.

He has worked for the Monmouth Police Department since 2012.

Parshall said he intends to push for state legislation to ease overcrowding and transportation costs by re-establishing the jail in Paris to its full-time status.

Its status was changed in 2008 when the state took over county jails. Prisoners who are denied or are unable to make bail within 72 hours of their arrest are taken to other county jails.

Parshall said that practice is unfair to prisoners and a waste of taxpayer dollars. 

“Not everyone who gets arrested is a career criminal,” Parshall said.

He criticized Sheriff Wayne Gallant’s handling of recent high-profile issues, coming out strong against the decision to end call sharing with the Maine State Police.

Parshall said he was perplexed by the sheriff’s decision and contended that it underserved county residents and burdened deputies with a greater call volume. 

The move, which has been endorsed by the Sheriff’s Office and Maine State Police, once divvied the county in separate regions, with each force alternating which region they responded to on a weekly basis.

Contrasting his opponent, Parshall also said he would have used the sheriff’s position to lobby for raises for the deputies to end the three-and-a-half year contract dispute with the county. 

In July, the issue came to a head during a small protest.

Parshall said if he had been at the helm, the situation never would have gotten to that point. 

Parshall also said he would overhaul the command structure of the Sheriff’s Office because some command positions carry rank in name only, because deputies underneath them don’t report to them.

A firm opponent of legalizing marijuana, Parshall said if he’s elected, deputies will continue to be instructed to follow the state law, which prohibits any possession, despite growing social acceptance of the substance.

Parshall began his career in law enforcement as a patrolman for the Lewiston Police Department in 1979, serving until 1982. He was a military police officer from 1982 to 1985 and returned to the Lewiston Police Department from 1985 to 2009. He also worked as a part-time deputy with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department from 2007 to 2009, and full time from 2009 to 2012. He joined the Monmouth Police Department in 2012.

During his career, he’s served as a drug enforcement agent, detective, sergeant, watch commander and certified motor policeman, and operated his own trucking business. He cited that long experience as the foundation for success.

“I feel Sheriff Gallant has served eight years and he’s popular, but it’s time for a new leader. It’s time to save money. It’s time to modernize our force,” Parshall said.

The general election will be held Nov. 4. 

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