Originally published in Compass, June 5, 2014
Candidates for Hancock County Sheriff
by Rich Hewitt
Scott Kane and Alan Brown will face off in the Republican primary race for Hancock County Sheriff on June 10. No other party has entered candidates.
For complete information on the upcoming primary races on the Blue Hill Peninsula, see our Election Primer.
Alan Brown began working for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department right out of college.
The Hancock native graduated from Ellsworth High School in 1987 and earned an associate degree in Legal Technology from the University of Maine in 1989. Brown joined the department as a part-time officer in 1988 and became a full-time patrol officer in 1990. He was promoted to detective sergeant in 2001, and in that position, he has investigated and assisted in directing other officers in investigations of many of the major crimes committed in Hancock County since then. He has worked with other county law enforcement departments and state law enforcement agencies and also has cooperated with federal agencies including BATF, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and has presented cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for review and prosecution.
As detective sergeant, Brown also has had a supervisory role, serving in the department’s command staff rotation where he assists with supervision of patrol deputies. Brown also serves as a firearms instructor and urban rifle instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and an interactive use of force instructor.
“That has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career,” he said, “to be able to teach guys and lead guys in a sense.”
Brown, 44, who now lives in Ellsworth with his wife, Stacie, and their 16-year-old son, Justin, said the department faces a number of challenges. The number of service calls to the sheriff’s department has jumped by 20 percent in the past four years, and the department is responding with the same number of patrol officers.
“We’re still effective,” he said. “But we’re going to need to find ways to maximize the tax payers’ dollars to provide as quality a service as we can.”
Brown noted that both the sheriff and the county commissioners share the fiscal responsibility for the department.
“I want to establish a good working relationship with the county commissioners,” he said. “We’ll need to look at all patrol functions to ensure that we maximize the resources we have and continue to provide quality service.”
He expressed concern about the state’s ability to effectively run the county jails and said he anticipated that the county will once again become responsible for handling all jail functions.
“There’s nothing wrong with local control,” Brown said. “I think Sheriff Clark has done an exceptional job in running the jail, and I think we can do it locally more cost effectively than the state can.”
In his printed materials, Brown notes that they both are challenged to do more with less.
“With today’s budget restraints, I will take a long, hard look and evaluate where I may be able to save money within the department,” he said.
Brown said, flat out, that Hancock County has a drug problem, a problem which has driven the rise in crime in the county, including an increase in burglaries, thefts and pharmacy break-ins and thefts of prescription narcotics.
He praised the proactive approach the county and state have taken. He supports a three-pronged approach to the problem which encompasses enforcement, and prosecution as well as treatment for those who will benefit from it.
Brown is also a strong proponent of utilizing new technology to support the department and its deputies. New technology has allowed the department to work with other county agencies and other law enforcement agencies both in the county and around the state. Better communication, he said, can lead to more inter-agency cooperation and training.
Technology, including social media, can also help to expand communication between the department and the people it serves, providing a way for the department to issue alerts on severe weather or road closures and to receive information from the public about an investigation.
He said he sees the role of sheriff as the next step in his career that will allow him to provide the leadership, strategic vision and sound fiscal management for the department and to promote the personal and professional growth of its employees.
“I think my experiences in the last 25 years will allow me to steer this agency and to continue its mission,” he said.
Born in Old Town, Scott Kane grew up in Surry and graduated from Ellsworth High School. He attended the University of Maine, in Orono and at Presque Isle. Kane worked with his father at the old Hancock County Creamery, ran his own ice cream shop in Bar Harbor and also worked as a private investigator. After several years as a part-time deputy, he joined the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department fulltime as a patrol deputy.
He now lives in Brooksville with his wife Rosemarie and their two dogs.
Kane has served for years as the county’s DARE program coordinator, overseeing the program in 21 schools. He’s been the president of the Maine DARE Officers Association and has received its Officer of the Year and Past President awards.
He co-founded the Sheriff’s Cup junior high school basketball tournament and Camp POSTCARD, and has served as a junior varsity baseball coach at George Stevens Academy in Blue Hill. If elected sheriff, he said he plans to continue his work with DARE and as the baseball coach, noting that young people are a priority.
“I’ve met thousands of kids over the years and I still enjoy it as much as the first day I did it,” he said.
Kane said he wants to make the department more community oriented and to educate residents about the sheriff’s department and how they can be helpful. He said he also would work to establish an officer in the school program in county schools.
Training will be a priority, he said, both for the patrol deputies and for the jail personnel. Kane said he’d like for each deputy to be trained in a specialty area so the department can provide additional services to the county. He said he wants to ensure that jail personnel are trained to recognize symptoms of mental illness and drug addiction in the jail population.
“They are the front-line people to identify issues that could become deadly to someone and be a huge financial liability to the county,” he said. “It’s important that they be able to recognize these issues and get these people to the facilities where they belong.”
Kane said he supports the work of the state’s Drug Task Force, but said he recognizes that enforcement is not the only answer to that problem and that treatment is also a key component. He said he supports the department working with agencies such as Open Door and Healthy Acadia.
Kane suggested that the department also should have a larger role in providing security at the Hancock County Airport, and said he already has discussed that possibility with county commissioners.
He also said he plans to establish a good working relationship with the county commissioners so they can work on long-range fiscal planning for the department.
“Some of the things we do are expensive,” Kane said. “We need to plan for those expenses so we’re not hit with one big bill.”
The sheriff’s department has a good working relationship with other law enforcement agencies and has established a good patrol rotation with the Maine State Police. Kane said he plans to continue that relationship and to look to other agencies for ideas for the future.
“I’m an open-minded thinker and I’m open to other ideas on how to do things in a better way,” he said. “I’ll give Hancock County 100 percent every day with a positive attitude and I’ll spread that to the people who work with me and for me.”