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Goggin and Dyer on the ballot for Piscataquis County sheriff

Goggin cites experience
and challenges of sheriff’s position

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

NE-Goggin1-DCX-PO-7    Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin hasn’t had an opponent in the primary or general election in more than two decades. So hitting the road during his time off to introduce himself to voters was a different experience this year.

    “I stopped at a lady’s house in Brownville and we chatted for a while,” Goggin said. “When I asked if I could put a sign on her lawn, and she asked what party I was in. When I told her I was a Republican, she was aghast. ‘I’ve never voted for a Republican in my life and I’m not going to start now!’ she told me,” Goggin said with a laugh.
    The incumbent sheriff said that he appreciated the woman’s candor. “In a campaign, you hear a lot of things,” he noted, “but some people may just tell you what they think you want to hear.”
    Goggin has served as sheriff for 24 years and wants to add another four to his tenure. His opponent is Dover-Foxcroft Police Chief Dennis Dyer, who is running as an independent.
    Goggin said that one of the reasons he’s seeking re-election is because law enforcement in the county “is going to be facing some challenging times. Counties like Piscataquis are the first ones to feel the recession and the last ones to come out of it,” he said.
    He said that he’s concerned that if smaller municipal police departments are forced to cut back their staffing levels, “We’ll have to beef up our manpower. But there again – we have to operate within a budget, too.”
    Goggin said that the sheriff’s department consistently stays within its budget, but he credits his department supervisors for the accomplishment. “We hold a department meeting every month to review the figures so we know where we stand,” Goggin said.
    One sticking point is the recently-passed law that gives the Maine Board of Corrections considerable power over the operation of county jails. Goggin said that the BOC puts spending caps on local jails “without considering that our expenses go up constantly – food prices, fuel oil and other things beyond our control.”
    Goggin said that he doesn’t like to “toot my own horn” but said that when the BOC first unveiled their statewide corrections plans, “I told them it was not going to be a good law.” Goggin was one of only three members of the Maine Sheriff’s Association that voted to oppose it.
    Goggin predicted that changes will be made in the law “because it just isn’t working.”
    The incumbent sheriff started his law enforcement career as a part-time deputy in Guilford under the late Sheriff Frank Murch, worked his way up through the ranks and was elected as sheriff for the first time in 1990.
    He said his philosophy has always been consistent. “I treat people with respect,” he said. “I want to help – not hurt – people, no matter what kind of trouble they’re in.”


Dyer says campaign for sheriff
has been positive experience

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

NE-DyerAnnounce-DCX-PO-8    Dennis Dyer had never sought public office until this year, and said that it’s definitely been “a learning experience” for him.
    The Dover-Foxcroft police chief is running against incumbent Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin, giving him his first challenge in more than two decades.
    “The campaign is going very well,” said Dyer, who is running as an independent. “I’ve received a lot of support from people all over the county. But there are a lot more hours involved and a lot more manpower needed than I anticipated.” Dyer made it clear when he announced his candidacy in the spring that he would only campaign during off-duty hours and scheduled days off.
    Dyer has 42 years in law enforcement including the last 28 as Dover-Foxcroft chief.
    Dyer said that, if elected, he doesn’t foresee making any major changes in the department’s basic operations. “But I would push for more call-sharing, especially with the state police,” Dyer said.
    With only four municipal police departments in the county — Dover-Foxcroft, Milo, Brownville and Greenville — Dyer said that it’s vital to keep the lines of communication open. “This is a huge, rural county with a lot of territory to cover,” he said.
    The Dover-Foxcroft police station has an extra room for the state police to use during their shifts or ongoing investigations, said Dyer. “So we’re already doing call-sharing in our department,” he said. “If you come home and your house is broken into, you don’t really care who responds to the call — you just want someone there. We need to start doing more things to benefit the taxpayers of the county.”
    Dyer also said that he’s skeptical about the Board of Corrections’ authority over the operation of county jails. “State agencies in Augusta don’t know anything about running a jail in a rural county like Piscataquis,” Dyer said. “This was a bad idea to begin with.”
    Dyer said that if elected, he’ll examine the need for more specialized training in the sheriff’s department. “But we also have to do within a budget,” he noted.
    Dyer was a Piscataquis County sheriff’s deputy in the 1970s before accepting an assignment with the Maine Department of Public Safety’s drug investigation division, a precursor to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
    When funding ran out for the program, he returned to the sheriff’s department for a while and was hired by Dover-Foxcroft Police Chief Herb Green in 1978. He was appointed chief in 1985.
    Running for sheriff “was something I always wanted to do,” Dyer said, “but I also wanted to wait until this time was right. Now people have a choice for the office.”
    Dyer said that no matter what happens on Election Day, “I’m glad I made the decision to run. And I think it will be a close vote.”

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