York County Sheriff William L. King Jr. took the oath of office during ceremonies on Tuesday, marking he beginning of his second term of office. The oath was administered by former Maine legislator and former York County Commissioner David Bowles. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

ALFRED — After being sworn in for his second term in ceremonies at the York County Sheriff’s Office on New Year’s Day, York County Sheriff William L. King Jr. said increases in the number of contracts that provide deputy policing services to specific communities is paying off.

“Our community members are noticing the effectiveness of our patrols and value the increased quality of life,” said King.

He spoke about accomplishments in the agency’s three divisions — police services, corrections and civil process — over the past four years and of the attributes of those in key positions at the agency.

“Every one of these divisions interact with community members at difficult times,” said King. “Our direction to the staff is to try to end all encounters well. If we can avoid an arrest, do so. If we can seek voluntary compliance, that is the direction we prefer. And it has worked for us.”

He said the Sheriff’s Office has operated within its allocated budget for all four years of his first term.

In police services, he noted a 40 percent increase in the contract deputy program. He pointed out that the civil process division was reorganized to transition private contractors to become county employees. That change, he said, allows the agency to serve civil process paperwork in a safer, more accountable manner that has also resulted in cost savings.

He spoke about the new program at York County Jail designed to provide help to inmates with substance abuse issues.

“We have worked to bring a medication-assisted treatment program in the jail at no cost to the county taxpayer,” said King. “This pilot program is grant funded to provide medication and treatment to inmates with a substance use disorder.”

A Saco Democrat, King, 65, was elected to his second four year term in November, besting his Republican opponent Roger Hicks by 13,000 votes.

The oath of office was administered by dedimus justice, former York County Commissioner and former Maine legislator, David Bowles of Sanford. The sheriff’s badge was pinned by his grandson, Sean, 7.

York County Sheriff William L. King Jr., gets a hug from his grandson Sean, 7, after the young fellow pinned King’s badge on his grandfather’s uniform during King’s swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Bowles also administered the oath of office to Thomas Baran of Kittery, whom King chose to continue as his chief deputy for a second term.

King joined the Sheriff’s Office as a major in 2010 and was later appointed as chief deputy to former Sheriff Maurice Ouellette. Baran, who worked at York Police Department for 30 years, began his career with the York County Sheriff’s Office as a major in 2013.

King spoke of Baran’s integrity and work ethic, and outlined the attributes of others in leadership positions in the agency, including Michael Vitiello, who is one of two certified jail administrators in Maine, and one of three auditors — all at York County Jail — who are certified by the U.S. Department of Justice. He spoke of Captains Dan Bean and Tim Kortes, who are both U.S DOJ auditors. As well, Kortes is a certified jail administrator and was recently selected for that position at Cumberland County Jail. King noted Major Paul Mitchell’s strengths in police operations and personnel management.

Apparent labor issues were evidenced as outside, and later, inside during the ceremony, three members of the Southern Maine Labor Council held signs, alluding to unrest. Four unions represent workers at the Sheriff’s Office — the National Correctional Employees Union; Fraternal Order of Police, Teamsters and the Maine State Employees Association.

Prior to the ceremony, Rachel Sherman, president of the MSEA local 1297, said there are issues pending.

“(Employees) should be able to do their jobs free of retaliation or intimidation,” she said, but declined to be more specific. She said the issues were making their way through the prescribed process.

Employees need to know they’re being supported by people who are in a position to speak up, Harland Baker of the Southern Maine Labor Council said.

Inside, as the ceremonies wound down, King thanked all those who attended.

“Your confidence in me means a great deal and we will continue to work to ensure that York County is a great place for all of us to call home,” he said.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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