Waldo County’s chief deputy was leading against the Searsport police chief in the race to be the next sheriff on Wednesday.
With more than 92 percent of precincts reporting, Democratic candidate Jason Trundy had 10,295 votes to Republican candidate Todd Boisvert’s 8,057.
“It’s a little bit surreal. It almost feels like some days like it was yesterday that I started even though it was 1994,” Trundy said.
If elected, Trundy will replace outgoing Sheriff Jeff Trafton, who served two terms before opting to retire. Trundy served as Trafton’s chief deputy for both terms.
Trundy, who has worked for the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office for 28 years, said he is humbled by the opportunity to reach the top.
“To move through the ranks, I have been really blessed to have been given a lot of different opportunities in this agency, a lot of leadership opportunities,” he said.
He said watching the agency go through four different sheriffs with different leadership styles has shaped how he plans to steer the ship.
“When I look back over those four sheriffs, and the impact that they’ve made on law enforcement in this community, in the safety of this community … there’s a little bit of gravity to realizing the responsibility that comes along with being the sheriff and the public safety that is entrusted to us,” Trundy said.
Trundy said he will continue his ongoing work on a new, collaborative approach to address issues such as the opioid epidemic.
Throughout their campaigns, Trundy and Boisvert fundamentally disagreed over how to handle the opioid epidemic in Waldo County. Trundy believes in a proactive approach. He said that working with community organizations can help people with substance abuse get treatment before they end up in the criminal justice system. That, he said, will dry up the market and drive out the dealers in Waldo County.
Boisvert believes that law enforcement needs to focus on pushing out dealers to cut off access to drugs and, in turn, encourage people with substance use disorder to seek treatment.
For some, the two candidates’ stance on addressing the opioid epidemic was a determining factor.
Tom Fowler, a civil engineer from Belfast, said Tuesday he was voting for Trundy because he supported restorative justice, which focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Trundy said his initial plan once he takes office is to hire three new deputies, following approval from the county commissioners and budget committee. Those officers will focus on traffic patrolling.
The new sheriff will be sworn in on Jan. 1.