Jeffrey Bishop, 55, worked as a police officer in eastern coastal Maine for nearly 20 years and once ran for Washington County sheriff.
Jeffrey Bishop. Credit: Courtesy of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency

MACHIAS, Maine — In a case involving one of Maine’s worst-ever cases of police corruption, a former candidate for Washington County sheriff who worked as a police officer in eastern coastal Maine for nearly 20 years was sentenced Monday morning to serve 4 years in prison on drug and gun charges.

Jeffrey Bishop, 55, originally faced 35 charges after he gave opioid pills to a teenage girl in the parking lot of a high school in Harrington. Police also found more than a dozen stolen guns at his house in Cherryfield.

In a deal with the state attorney general’s office, Bishop pleaded guilty in August to 14 felony charges ranging from drug trafficking and furnishing to stealing drugs to multiple counts of receiving stolen guns. The other 21 charges, many theft counts related to the guns, were dismissed.

Bishop arrived a few minutes early to his 8:30 sentencing and prayed in the parking lot with his family before going inside the courthouse.

During his sentencing, he told Justice Robert Mullen that he was “nervous.” Bishop had to stop a couple of times to compose himself as he addressed the judge.

“I am here today to accept what I need to do,” Bishop said. “I stand before you a very humble [and] a very broken man.”

Bishop was  arrested in February 2021, less than a week after he retired from the Calais Police Department, after he was seen giving drugs to a 17-year-old girl in the parking lot of Narraguagus High School in Harrington.

The drugs, which were inside an unmarked prescription pill bottle, included 27 acetaminophen and hydrocodone pills and three baggies of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than heroin, police have said.

The drugs were intended for the girl’s mother, with whom Bishop sometimes traded drugs for sex, according to Assistant Attorney General Jeff Baroody. On some occasions, Bishop had sex with the girl’s mother in his cruiser while he was on duty with the Calais Police Department, police have said.

When police executed a search warrant at Bishop’s home a few days after he gave the girl the pills, they found and seized 15 guns that had been reported stolen in Hancock and Washington counties over the previous four years.

Two of the recovered guns, both police-issued Glock pistols, were stolen in a 2016 burglary at the Gouldsboro Town Office, where Bishop was previously employed as a police officer.

Monday’s hearing lasted only a few minutes, and none of Bishop’s victims were there to witness the proceedings or address the court.

Mullen told Bishop that he felt the sentence, which had been jointly recommended by prosecutors and by Bishop’s attorney at the time, Chris Largay, was appropriate for the crimes he committed.

“I seriously don’t think you’ll be back in front of the court [ever again],” Mullen told Bishop. “I’m not worried about that.”

Despite his admission to many of the crimes, Bishop told the judge that he was not fully satisfied with the plea agreement. He also said he was “baffled” by why his background as a police officer would be a reason for giving him a comparatively longer prison term.

“Why is being a member of law enforcement an aggravating factor?” Bishop said.

Bishop had a prior criminal conviction, stemming from an incident from when ran for sheriff in 2006 and threw a political opponent’s sign in the Narraguagus River in Cherryfield. 

He was convicted the next year of attempted criminal mischief and fined $100. He also was fired from his job as a sheriff’s deputy, but after months of legal wrangling between his union and the county he was given a separation agreement and $10,000 in back pay.

He then left law enforcement for 7 years, working instead as an electrician. He was recertified as a police officer in 2014 and was hired to work as a part-time patrol officer in Winter Harbor, but later was fired from that job for reasons that have not been disclosed.

At the end of the hearing, Bishop was allowed to hug members of his family and to say goodbye before he was handcuffed and led away by correction officers to begin serving his sentence.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....