WINSLOW — Crack shots from 10 sheriff’s departments competed here Wednesday to see which agency has the best marksmen.

The inaugural Shawn Donahue Memorial “Shooting Star” Competition, run by The Maine Sheriffs Association, determines the best individual marksmen and the top team. The latter prize was won by Sagadahoc County, which was represented by Cpl. Aaron Skolfield and Detective Chad Carleton

The competition, which is intended to become an annual event, honors Donahue, who was Washington County’s Chief Deputy when he died unexpectedly in May.

Chris Donahue, a corporal in the Washington County department, said his brother Shawn “would have been very humbled by all this.”

Donahue was a 19-year veteran of law enforcement, holding posts throughout Maine, including stints as police chief in Baileyville and chief deputy at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

The all-day event, hosted by the Kennebec County department at the firearms range on Abbott Road, pitted 10 of the state’s 16 departments in a friendly competition. It was also an opportunity for officers from various departments to interact while paying tribute to one of their own.


“It’s not often that we get to socialize with other departments like this,” said Randall Liberty, sheriff of Kennebec County.

Dennis Picard, a captain in the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, said when his agency started organizing the event, it expected maybe five or six counties to participate and ended up with 10.

“From our perspective, it’s also training,” Picard said. “Our officers are replicating what they may encounter in the field. It’s a good use of time.”

Picard said the hope for the future is to have all 16 counties in the state represented.

Teams of two either were chosen by their department or volunteered for the competition in four events: sidearm proficiency, rifle proficiency, a divided-attention endurance event in which competitors sprinted 200 yards before assembling their pistols and shooting at targets, and a head-to-head duel, involving deputies competing against another in target practice.

Four individual event winners were crowned and the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office took the Donahue Cup, earning overall bragging rights for the year.


The individual event winners were: sidearm, Deputy Sharosh Sher, Kennebec County; rifle, Lt. Travis Willey, Washington County; endurance, Deputy Jeremy Joslyn, Knox County; and duel, Deputy Justin Drake, Lincoln County.

The counties represented were Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Sagadahoc, Somerset, Waldo and Washington.

Sher, winner of the sidearm competition, had been nominated to participate, as had his partner, Brittany Morin of Winslow, the only woman to compete Wednesday. Sher didn’t know Donahue personally, but he said you don’t have to know a fellow officer personally to consider him or her family.

“We know him because he’s blue family. He’s a part of the law enforcement family,” Sher said. “We’re all related in that way.”

Sher, who has been with the department since 2012, said it would have been nice to bring the cup to the Kennebec office, but the event was more a chance to bond with comrades from other counties.

“I’m here to have a good time, and obviously winning would be the cherry on top,” he said. “I’m here to meet with my brothers and sisters from other agencies. Events like this bring us all together.”

The event was open to families, and a few deputies brought their children or parents or significant others along, while several sheriffs and firearms instructors were on hand to coach and provide instruction.

Donahue, who was partnered with Somerset County Deputy David Cole because Cole’s intended partner was away, admitted that his brother probably was the better shot and that he would have enjoyed an event such as the one in Winslow.

“Oh, absolutely, he would have been here,” Donahue said. “I don’t know if he would have shot, but he would be here to represent the county. He was very proud of where he worked and what he did.”

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