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Pulitzer Center Update March 9, 2021

Pulitzer Center-Supported Series Leads to Bill for More Oversight of Sheriffs

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A Maine State Police cruiser is shown outside the Penobscot County Jail on May 12, 2020. Image by Natalie Williams/Bangor Daily News

The Bangor Daily News is painting a statewide picture of what is, and isn’t, being done to hold...

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Illustration of person opening a door knob, with a sheriff's badge on the key chain of the key in the door
Illustration by Natalie Williams/BDN.

A Maine bill that would bring more oversight to elected county sheriffs faced no opposition in a public hearing, according to a Bangor Daily News article.

The legislation, LD 375, would create a way for sheriffs to be placed on administrative leave when suspected of improper, unethical, or criminal behavior. In 2017, a former Maine county sheriff remained in office while under investigation both internally and by the FBI, allowing him to allegedly destroy records.

Last year the Bangor Daily News, with support from the Pulitzer Center, published an investigative series about the lack of accountability of Maine county law enforcement. Zachary Heiden, chief counsel for the Maine ACLU, said that this reporting shows the importance of legislation like LD 375.

“The people of Maine, thanks to very determined investigative reporting from the Bangor Daily News, know that people charged with enforcing the law were not themselves following the law, and that that revealed the gap in accountability that I know this piece of legislation aims to fill,” he said in a BDN article.



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