As a member of law enforcement, it’s my responsibility to protect and serve my community – and that also means speaking out when I know something to be false. As the November election draws closer, I’ve watched as false claims and baseless accusations are made again and again about Democrat Sara Gideon.

As Sagadahoc County sheriff, I’ve worked with Sara during her time in the State House and I’ve seen firsthand everything she has done – and will do in the U.S. Senate – to support Maine law enforcement. That’s why I know that the attacks made against Sara Gideon are completely and unequivocally false, and the recent attacks that claim she doesn’t support law enforcement are so egregious and baseless that I want to set the record straight.

In Sagadahoc County, our law enforcement officers have worked hard to fight the opioid epidemic and keep our communities safe, and we could not have done that without the support of the state government and leaders like Sara Gideon. I’ve seen the dangers of reduced funding for law enforcement and a lack of resources play out in counties and municipalities across the state, and how those shortcomings directly impact the lives of Mainers.

Sara has been a real champion in the state of Maine, particularly in the field of prevention and in securing the resources law enforcement needs to truly address the opioid epidemic. When her bill to give us more resources at the local level was blocked, she stood up for our communities and brought Democrats, Republicans and independents together to get that bill through, which has helped law enforcement officials like myself save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives.

Sara helped provide the funds to hire 10 additional Maine Drug Enforcement agents and create grants for local enforcement agencies and jails to fund community-based treatment programs. Those programs help save lives and keep our deputies and our communities safe.

Sara has also shown that she understands that Maine’s law enforcement officers deserve fair treatment and benefits not just during their careers, but after they’ve served their communities as well. As speaker, she took action to protect health care for retired police officers and firefighters by passing legislation to prevent those funds from being raided and diverted for other purposes.

Sara has consistently been a reliable advocate for Maine’s law enforcement in the State House, and I’ve been honored to work with her to make our communities safer. I’ve seen the impact of her work on the ground in Sagadahoc County, where we’ve been better equipped to support Mainers struggling with substance use disorder and divert them into appropriate treatment programs.

And I’ve seen Sara’s commitment to listening to us and working with us to craft the kind of policies we need. Sara recently visited the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset to learn more about our medication-assisted treatment program and discuss criminal justice and the opioid epidemic with the officials there. As she always does, Sara showed a real interest in understanding what is happening on the ground and made clear her commitment to helping us treat people in recovery and keep our communities safe.

Sara’s focus on listening to us, bringing people together, making real progress on the issues that matter is what we need in Washington. Sara has shown time and again that she will stand with Maine law enforcement and help us combat the opioid crisis – that’s why we need her in the Senate.

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