York County Sheriff William L. King. left, welcomed his new Chief Deputy Jeremy Forbes to the sheriff’s office on Monday, Aug. 3. Forbes, of Saco, recently retired after 25 years with the Maine State Police. Tammy Wells Photo

ALFRED — Jeremy Forbes has worked with deputies from York County Sheriff’s Office on dozens, maybe hundreds of cases during his 25 years with Maine State Police — and now he’ll be working with them full time as the county’s chief deputy.

Forbes, of Saco, who was named Trooper of the Year in 2004 and again in 2012, retired from Maine State Police on July 29, and joined the sheriff’s office on Monday, Aug. 3. He succeeds Thomas Baran, who retired early in July, after seven years at the sheriff’s office, six of them as chief deputy.

“The chief (deputy) is second in command of the entire agency,” said Sheriff William King of the position. “(Forbes) will oversee the patrol division, investigations and civil process. He will collaborate with the jail administrator on the corrections division. He will respond to major incidents and have overall responsibility for YCSO law enforcement activities.”

Forbes was a sergeant and a K-9 officer for 23 of his 25 years with MSP.

“I was approached by the sheriff. I met with the management team and it seemed a like a good fit,” said Forbes of his new job in an interview last week. “YSCO will bring new challenges, new job description, new responsibilities.”

Originally from Massachusetts, Forbes lives in Saco with his wife and family. After finishing university in Westfield, Massachusetts, he  joined Maine State Police in 1995, and was assigned to Troop A in York County the following spring.

“I’ve always loved it here,” he said. “I never felt the need to go anywhere else.”

That deep knowledge of York County is among the qualities that King saw and liked.

“He has spent his entire career in York County and has vast institutional knowledge of the area and citizens,” said King in an email. “He knows the layout and our challenges.”

King said Forbes will have a fresh look at the overall structure of patrol and the allocation of resources and that he plans to give him wide latitude to reorganize resources to be more efficient.

When Jeremy Forbes retired from his job as a sergeant with the Maine State Police last week, K9 Champ retired with him. While Champ will enjoy retirement, Forbes has a new job – he was recently named chief deputy at York County Sheriff’s Office. Tammy Wells Photo

“I have personally witnessed Jeremy work and his ability to inspire and motivate others,” said King. “He is confident in his abilities yet accepts compliments and awards with grace and humility. He is a guy who doesn’t mind ‘getting his hands dirty’ and working alongside the deputies. … For a long time, I knew I wanted Jeremy on my team. ”

The chief deputy is appointed by the sheriff by state statue. County officials have set Forbes’ salary at $87,000 annually.

Forbes, 47,  is the first of his family in law enforcement, and may have started a trend. His oldest children, twin sons, went to college for business — but both are now in law enforcement at Portland Police Department. He and his wife have another son who will start college in the fall, and their daughter is a senior at Thornton Academy.

Forbes said times are changing, including the perception of people who are engaged in law enforcement as well as police responsibilities.

“When I started, marijuana was the problem drug, now it’s heroin and fentanyl,” he said. “Now we go after the dealers and get help for people abusing drugs.”

One of the most recent cases he worked with sheriff’s deputies and drug agents was in Buxton, where several members of a family were engaged in the drug and stolen guns trade, were convicted of various crimes and sentenced to federal prison.

As to current perceptions of police and how they carry out  their responsibilities, Forbes said he has “no doubt the community overall supports law enforcement.”

“In 25 years of working with municipal, county and federal department, I’ve never seen any racist views or actions — but you can always improve things, ” Forbes said.

King said Forbes will be an asset to the agency — as was Baran who worked at York Police Department for 24 years before joining YCSO in 2013.

“Tom was a change agent,” said King. “He was instrumental in modernizing the patrol function and civil process. Under Tom’s guidance, we were able to get through some tough times, like the time our staffing levels and budget necessitated us to eliminate a night shift — we provided coverage with ‘on-call’ deputies until our staffing levels increased.”

He said Baran inspired deputies to be more pro-active, conducting building checks, traffic stops, and interacting with people in the community when not responding to calls for service. Baran also modernized the civil process division, transitioning contracted workers to full- and par- time employees, King said.

“I believe Tom’s proactive leadership increased our presence and reputation amongst other law enforcement agencies as well as (with) the public,” said King.

As Forbes prepared to retire from MSP last week, he knew he wouldn’t be retiring alone. His longtime K-9, Champ, a 14-year-old muscled mix of German Shepherd, pit bull and boxer, believed to be one of the oldest working dogs in the agency, is retiring with him, and will live out his years with the Forbes family.

Forbes said leaving MSP is “bittersweet” but is looking forward to his new gig with the sheriff’s office.

“There’s a lot of great people there,” he said.

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