HOULTON, Maine — For Darrell Crandall, chief deputy of the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department, his earliest memories have always been steeped in law enforcement.
His father, Darrell Crandall Sr., was sheriff of the department from January 1965 until he retired in 1983, at a time when The County pretty much expected the individual in that position to live at the jobsite.
“Until the early 1970’s, The County provided housing for the sheriff,” Crandall explained during a recent interview. “Until I was about 8 years old, our home was pretty much attached to the jail. My dad had a long career in law enforcement, and although he did try and steer me in a different direction he wasn’t successful.”
Having spent 29 years of his own career in law enforcement, with his father as a role model, it was only natural for Crandall to announce he would be running for sheriff of Aroostook County in November. He is running unopposed for the position.
The current sheriff, James Madore, was appointed to the position in 2001 to finish a vacated term and has been re-elected ever since. Madore is retiring, so he is not seeking another term.
Crandall spent 29 years with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, having started as a guard at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton in the summer of 1985. Sheriff Edgar Wheeler selected him as a patrol deputy the following year, and he was promoted to sergeant in 1993. In 2005, he was promoted again, to lieutenant, by Sheriff Madore.
He also spent more than 20 years assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, 12 of those years as a supervisor and eight as the division commander. While there, he was instrumental in creating MDEA’s drug lab response team. Crandall led that team for 14 years. In 2007, Crandall developed a comprehensive training program on professional ethics he shared with hundreds of police and correctional officers in Maine. He also teaches classes on effective report writing, criminal investigations and constitutional law.
He became the chief deputy of the sheriff’s department in 2013 and is currently responsible for leading more than 50 employees in the corrections, law enforcement and support services divisions.
“I have said for years that I wanted to finish my career as sheriff because it touches every aspect of the criminal justice system that I am interested in,” Crandall said. “You get to do so much good in so many different areas. Just in my time as chief deputy, Sheriff Madore has been very open to my ideas, and I am hoping to expand on them and come up with some more as sheriff.”
Already, Crandall has helped increase the number of beds in the jail from 72 to 123, which has dramatically reduced inmate transportation costs for The County. He also has addressed a number of court scheduling issues that he said needlessly cost money and has rearranged patrol schedules to allow deputies to be on duty closer to their homes, which has cut down on fuel expenses and allowed community members to better know their local officers.
As sheriff, he hopes to better understand and reduce the number of computer crimes taking place in The County, continue and strengthen the department’s relationship with the MDEA, and make better use of the videoconferencing system available for use between the jail and the court houses. Crandall noted that in 2013, corrections officers transported more than 3,000 inmates more than 140,000 miles. Making better use of the available video conferencing system could cut down on fuel expenses, he said.
“I have dedicated my entire adult life to public service and have worked hard to help improve the delivery of law enforcement and correctional services in Aroostook County,” he said. “While I am thankful to have gained perspective through my years of working around the state, I am happy to once again be focusing all of my efforts right here at home.”
Crandall is a lifelong resident of Aroostook County who holds corrections and law enforcement certifications from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. He also has extensive training and experience in law enforcement administration and leadership. He has been the recipient of many professional awards, including being named the Manager of the Year in 2013 by the Maine Sheriff’s Association. Crandall and his family live in Houlton.