PARIS — An Oxford County Sheriff’s deputy has been recognized as the best in the state by her colleagues. 

Christina McAllister, 38, a resource officer for Regional School Unit 55 in Hiram, has been named Deputy of the Year by the Maine Sheriffs’ Association for her work as an educational advocate. 

“It’s an honor. I’m still taking it all in. I couldn’t have gotten it without my mother — she’s the reason I am the way I am — or the people in the Sheriff’s Department. They make me the way I am,” McAllister said. 

McAllister, a deputy since 2008, has worked in the schools for three years. She is the first woman and Oxford County deputy in memory to receive the honor, which she shares this year with Waldo County Deputy Nicholas Oettinger, according to Maine Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Mary-Anne LaMarre. 

Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant said all indications from the school indicate McAllister is an important deterrent to students dropping out of school. 

“She’s well-loved by the kids in that school,” Gallant said. “She makes us proud and represents the agency and uniform well.”

McAllister’s work involves interacting with more than 1,000 students between the district’s five schools, which draw from Baldwin, Cornish, Hiram, Parsonsfield and Porter. 

While always interested in a law enforcement, McAllister said she decided to have a family before launching into a career.

“I treat them like they’re my own,” she said. “I wouldn’t do anything that I wouldn’t to my own kids. They might not always like what I say, but I look out for them.”

As problems at home have a tendency to spill over into school, this stratagem has a way of resonating with students, she said. If she hears something, be it drama, social media, family problems, or failing grades, she’ll share personal experiences with them, establishing a line of communication she hopes will build into trust, she said. 

While loving her job, she said it’s challenging to watch students go through dark patches in their life. More than anything, she tells them it’s temporary, and tries to get them to see the light at the end of the tunnel, she said. 

“Some of them aren’t easy,” McAllister said. “They’ve gone through tough times and see nothing but negative things. There’s some it’s taken a good year to establish trust with, but they know I’m not just a police officer trying to get information.” 

McAllister will be given a plaque at an awards ceremony honoring law enforcement officers from a variety of fields Thursday evening in Portland. 

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