Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith seeking re-election

Posted Jan. 07, 2014, at 8:08 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 07, 2014, at 11:48 p.m.
 Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith
Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith Buy Photo

MACHIAS, Maine — Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith is seeking re-election to a third term, he announced Tuesday night.

Smith, who has been sheriff since 2007 and has 22 years of law enforcement experience, is known for being outspoken at times — even toward other law enforcement agencies.

He touted his “transparent administration” efforts to rein in spending and accomplishments as sheriff in an email to news outlets announcing his re-election bid.

His office’s resource sharing agreement with the Maine State Police saved taxpayers $40,000 the first year, he said in the email announcement.

Smith criticized state police in December, saying they wanted to modify the agreement in such a way that would have weakened their presence in Washington County. The two sides recently agreed to renew the pact virtually unchanged.

In his re-election announcement, Smith said his office has been recognized by the state Department of Public Safety “for our ability to work in conjunction with the Maine State Police to solve crime.”

He reduced the response time by officers in the northern portion of Washington County by assigning two deputies in the area, said Smith, and implemented procedures to bring more than 100 sex offenders in the county into compliance with the state’s sex offender registry. His office has the highest crime clearance rate of any law enforcement agency in Maine, according to Smith.

Smith has sparred with other officials and threatened or filed numerous lawsuits against other state agencies. In April 2013, for example, he threatened to sue the state’s district court system over how judges’ hours are scheduled; Smith said that the three-days-per-week schedule meant letting some suspects go free before they saw a judge. He has been critical of state Sen. David Burns — and state government generally — recently for plans to expand the county courthouse.

Smith won a hotly contested three-way race for sheriff in 2006 and handily won a second term in 2010.

Candidates for county sheriff have until March 17 to file nomination petitions with the Secretary of State for the June 10 primary. Independents, like Smith, have until June to file their papers before the Nov. 4 general election.

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