Deputy to join sheriff’s department on a full-time basis

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office did not have to look very far to find a new full-time deputy sheriff for the patrol division, with the hiring of Jeremy Rackliff. Rackliff, who lives in Sangerville, has been working on a part-time and fill-in basis for the department, Sheriff Robert Young told the county commissioners during an April 22 meeting.

“We have an opening in the budget that’s going to begin July 1,” Young said as the county’s 2019 spending plan includes funds to hire another patrol deputy starting in the summer to bring the complement of full-time officers to nine.

Young said Rackliff graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro last May and he had been working full-time for the Bangor Police Department. “He’s been working on a full-time, part-time basis for us for quite a few months now,” the sheriff said as Rackliff has filled in with one deputy on U.S. Army Reserve active duty and another who is out on worker’s compensation after being injured in the line of duty.

Three candidates applied for the patrol position, and Young said one had background check issues and the third withdrew from the process. “I think we’re very fortunate to pick up Jeremy,” Young said.

“There is a buyout with Bangor, I think it’s $32,000,” Young said. “There is a negotiation and they said they would take $20,000,” he added as this total could be split between two budget years.

Per state law, when officers being sent to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy by a department leave for another agency the academy expenses must be proportionally reimbursed. The $40,000 cost drops $8,000 annually over a half decade, so the reimbursement for Rackliff would be $32,000 before the willingness of Bangor to accept $20,000 from Piscataquis County.

Young said the hope is to have Rackliff start immediately, with funds available to cover the costs prior to July 1. “He’s a good fit, to me we are very fortunate,” the sheriff said.

“There’s not a better experience to move into Piscataquis County than to serve a year in Bangor,” Commissioners Chair James White said before the commissioners gave their approval to $20,000 being split between a pair of county budgets.

The sheriff’s office has three separate divisions, patrol, jail and telecommunications. The patrol division is comprised of Young, Chief Deputy Todd Lyford, Lt. Jamie Kane, Sgt. Mike Gould, and Deputies Guy Dow, Kyle Wilson and Robert Cook, plus Deputy Tysen Ober who is on U.S. Army Reserve active duty and is expected to return next month. There will be a total of nine full-time officers once Ober is back and Rackliff begins. The department has several part-time deputies, who usually fill in on weekends when the need arises.

In other business, County Manager Tom Lizotte said the search process to find his successor is underway. “The ads have run in the local newspapers and on the county website and we have some applications,” he said.

Earlier in the month Lizotte, who has served as Piscataquis County manager since 2014, announced he plans to retire this summer. The county commissioners have begun the search process and they intend to hire a replacement for Lizotte by July 5, his final day of work.

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