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Gillen elected as next Aroostook County Sheriff

HOULTON, Maine — Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen said Friday morning that he was eager to officially take over a job he has already been doing on an interim basis for much of the past year.

Gillen, a Democrat, handily defeated Republican challenger Matthew Irwin in the Nov. 6 election, receiving 66.9 percent of the vote, compared to 33.1 percent for Irwin.

“I was very pleased with the results and actually quite humbled by the amount of support that I received,” Gillen said in a phone interview Friday.

His first order of business as the new sheriff will be to select a deputy chief to serve as his second in command. Gillen has filled both the role of deputy chief and acting sheriff since former Sheriff Darrell Crandall retired and returned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency as its commander in March.

“I basically continued doing my job as deputy chief, was acting sheriff and tried to run a campaign,” he said. “So I am now ready to focus on being the sheriff.”

Gillen said he will open up the deputy chief position to anyone currently on the staff and hopes to appoint that person at the same time he is sworn in as sheriff in January. His term lasts four years.

“I am ready to get to work,” Gillen said. “We have got a lot of good things in the works that we are looking at. The big thing is to keep the jail rolling and on budget.”

Irwin, who resigned from his position as Presque Isle police chief in early September in order to focus on his campaign, extended his best wishes to his opponent on Thursday.

“I congratulate Shawn and wish him the best as our sheriff,” Irwin said. “I am confident he will do a fine job.” He added that his future plans were to take “some time to relax for a while and assess the opportunities as I move forward.”

“I have been doing some volunteer work over the years and plan to continue with that where possible,” he said.

Star-Herald reporter Anthony Brino contributed to this report.

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