Knox County names sheriff’s deputy of ’09

Posted Dec. 21, 2009, at 9:14 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — The newly named 2009 Knox County Sheriff’s Office Deputy of the Year took a routine complaint call last winter that suddenly turned into a police officer’s worst nightmare.

Detective Donald Murray knocked on the door of a home on Feb. 13 in response to a complaint about an erratic driver. The door opened, and Murray was confronted by an angry, drunken man holding a loaded rifle and yelling at him to get off the property.

“You people put your lives at risk every day,” Sheriff Donna Dennison said Monday during the ceremony to give Murray the award.

Murray, who has worked at the sheriff’s office for three years, said that his law enforcement academy training kicked in when he saw the rifle, even though it was the first time he had ever been confronted like that.

“I tried to de-escalate [the situation],” Murray said.

The detective kept on telling the man that he was from the sheriff’s office, and that he needed to put the weapon down. Eventually, he did.

“It worked that time,” Murray said.

The man was arrested for criminal threatening “among other charges,” Murray said, including threatening a woman over the telephone.

It was a surprise to get the deputy of the year award, the detective said, adding that any of the other detectives and deputies would have deserved it, too.

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