AUGUSTA — An investigator for the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office has been named the national deputy of the year.

The National Sheriffs’ Association last month presented Sgt. John Bourque with the Charles Meeks Merit Award for Deputy Sheriff of the Year during a ceremony held at the association’s conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Bourque was selected from a pool that includes more than 3,000 sheriffs’ offices and 100,000 deputy sheriffs across the country.

“I was so surprised by it,” Bourque said. “It’s just a great honor.”

Bourque, 38, a graduate of Maranacook High School in Readfield, began his law enforcement career with Kennebec County in 1997. He has since held several positions within the agency, including patrol deputy and detective.

Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty said in a news release that Bourque has particularly thrived as a narcotics investigator, in which role he has managed confidential informants and maintained contact with other agencies to help interrupt the drug trade. Liberty nominated Bourque for the award.

“Detective Bourque has been extremely successful in investigating local drug dealers and users,” Liberty said, adding that Bourque, “has the unique drive and determination needed to fulfill the role of an undercover detective.”

Bourque’s work led to his selection in 2010 as a task force agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. He has since played a key role in investigating a number of federal-level offenders, some with ties to the drug world across the country, Liberty said. Bourque’s effort has resulted in a number of lengthy prison sentences and nearly $3 million in seized assets.

Liberty said Bourque’s energy, motivation and dedication contributed to his selection as deputy of the year.

“It was a tremendous honor for Sgt. Bourque,” Liberty said. “There are more than 100,000 deputy sheriffs nationally. To be recognized as the Deputy Sheriff of the Year for the nation is remarkable.

“Sgt. Bourque’s consistent determination and success as deputy sheriff has brought great credit upon himself and the men and women of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office,” Liberty said.

Bourque was presented the award June 22 during a ceremony that included former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theisman and National Sheriffs’ Association President Sheriff Michael Leidholt.