EAST MADISON — Long-time law enforcement officer and domestic violence investigator James Ross will take over as second-in-command for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department when sheriff-elect Dale Lancaster takes office in January.

Ross, 60, was selected to become chief deputy because of his experience with personnel matters and his familiarity with law enforcement’s day-to-day operations, Lancaster said.

“James’ strong management and supervision attributes along with his knowledge revolving around domestic violence will make him an asset to the Sheriff’s Department management team as we move forward into the future,” Lancaster said. “James understands the complexities of personnel issues and budgets.

“I chose James because he understands and shares my vision of making the Somerset sheriff’s department a leader in the state of Maine.”

Lancaster, 58, was elected sheriff in November. He takes over for Barry DeLong, who is retiring after more than 40 years in law enforcement.

Both Lancaster and Ross live in Cornville.

Ross joined the Maine Warden Service in 1977, rising through the ranks over the next 21 years and retiring as a lieutenant in 1998. He was a division commander overseeing the day-to-day operations of the division and was responsible for major investigations, Lancaster said.

Ross later was a reserve police officer with the Skowhegan Police Department and then worked as a detective for three years. He was hired as domestic violence investigator for the Somerset/Kennebec county office of district attorney in 2005. Ross also is chairman for the Somerset/Kennebec County Domestic Violence Task Force.

“I’m deeply honored that he selected me,” Ross said. “Dale and I have kind of had parallel careers, and I’ve known him for 36 years. I’ve always admired and respected his work ethic, his values and have always been deeply impressed with his work. To have him select me to the position to assist him with his vision is quite humbling.”

Among Ross’ duties as chief deputy will be to help run the day-to-day operations of the Somerset County Jail and the sheriff’s department.

Ross, who is married, was born and raised in Troy in Waldo County and comes from a family of law enforcement officers. His brother, Glenn Ross, is retiring as Penobscot County sheriff after 36 years in law enforcement. Glenn Ross’ wife, Christine, also expects to retire this year from her position with that county’s office of probation and parole.

His son, Mike Ross, is a detective with the Somerset County sheriff’s office, and his other son, Brian, is a federal agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“It’s going to be a big learning curve for a while for me, but I’m a quick study and I’m really looking forward to this,” he said.

While with the Warden Service, Ross was appointed director of Internal Affairs and Professional Standards, Lancaster said.

Ross has in-depth experience with union contracts, personnel matters, handling grievances and has a working knowledge of budgets and grant writing, he said. He has volunteered in Somerset County as a 4-H leader, a baseball coach and has worked as a Triad member. Triad is a national community policing initiative to meet the crime and safety needs of seniors.

He is a Mason and a board member for Ducks Unlimited, an organization focusing on wetlands and waterfowl conservation.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow

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