FARMINGTON — Franklin County Sheriff Scott Nichols Sr. is collecting signatures  for a second four-year term as sheriff. He needs to collect 150 signatures before March 15.

Nichols has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and is a military veteran. He is a 1979 graduate of Mt. Blue High School in Farmington.

“I am running to continue working with the entire staff to ensure that the changes we have made continue, and that we continue to improve in all areas of service,” said Nichols, a Republican from New Sharon.

“We are also working with several towns in Franklin County to ensure that they have (animal control officer) services. Some towns either don’t, or have sporadic service. I am hoping through a collaboration of municipalities, the county as well as grant opportunities, we will be able to have a county (animal control officer) who would be responsible to towns that participate in the program.”

Under Nichols’ guidance, the county’s jail was returned to full operations in April 2015. It had been a 72-hour holding facility for nearly six years under the state’s consolidation of county jails.

Among other services implemented in the past three years are elder checks, building checks, a Citizens Police Academy and a corrections officers academy.

His staff has also been involved in several major drug busts, including one in Phillips in April 2014, considered to be the largest in the county’s history.

Nichols created a second lieutenant position in the department in 2013 by eliminating a sergeant position and the office manager position that were vacant at the time.

He has also overseen the addition of an assistant jail administrator position, using state corrections money.

“We are also now a recognized training center for new police K-9 teams,” he said. “We are currently training two new teams and will be bringing more on in the future.”

New this year is a basic handgun-training course, being conducted at the Wilton Fish and Game and at the Carrabassett Valley Range in Carrabassett Valley.

“The purpose of the course is to train novice handgun owners in basic safety and handgun handling and shooting,” Nichols said. “With the new concealed-carry law in existence, I felt that this would be a great public service to provide our citizens.”

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