ROCKLAND, Maine — Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison has announced she is running for re-election.
“I like what I’m doing, and I don’t want to quit yet,” said Dennison, 58, of St. George.
Dennison’s platform includes cracking down more heavily on drug crime, getting a drug-sniffing dog, obtaining money to expand the county law enforcement buildings and creating a garden, among other ideas.
Dennison, a Democrat, was elected to office in November 2006 after working in multiple county law enforcement positions, including in the jail, as a dispatcher, as a patrol person and as an investigator.
In her time as sheriff, Dennison has worked to improve conditions at Knox County Jail, including reinvigorating a program that allows some convicts to do supervised volunteer work in the community.
“I’m very pleased with the way the jail has come,” Dennison said. “We’ve come a long way from where the jail was. We can go a lot further.”
She said that jail workers’ attitudes about their workplace have shifted dramatically for the better since 2006. In a previous administration, the Knox County Jail was entangled in a lawsuit in which detainees had sued because they believed they were illegally strip-searched.
“We got the jail cleaned up. We got the staff working well together,” she said. “With the lawsuit, they were really down.”
Dennison worked to clean and paint the jail and to get the workers new uniforms.
“They take more pride in themselves,” she said. “They’re doing great.”
One of Dennison’s other priorities, if she is re-elected, is to work harder against drug crime.
“We need to keep the pace on the illegal drug activity. We need to continue that fight,” she said, noting that prescription drug abuse is particularly worrisome in Knox County. “That seems to be one of the biggest problems right now.”