Michael O. Mitchell, of Embden, has been appointed chief deputy of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Dale Lancaster announced Wednesday.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster, left, announced on Wednesday the appointment of Skowhegan native Michael O. Mitchell, of Embden, as chief deputy, succeeding James Ross, who retired in April. Somerset County Sheriff’s Office

Somerset County Commissioners unanimously approved the appointment, Lancaster said in a press release.

Mitchell replaces James Ross, who retired in April.

Mitchell was born and raised in Skowhegan and graduated from Skowhegan Area High School.

“Mike brings a vast and wide range of law enforcement and leadership experience to the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office,” Lancaster said. “He holds two master’s degrees, one in criminal justice administration and the other in business administration/human resource management. Mike is presently a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army/Maine National Guard, presently assigned the Deputy G3 of Operations – Joint Force Headquarters, Augusta. Mike is a decorated combat veteran and was deployed as a Company Commander in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is the recipient of a Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge.”

Mitchell’s 27 years of experience in law enforcement, all in Maine, includes working for local police and a 25-year career with the Maine State Police, according to Lancaster. When he retired from State Police, he was a Major Crimes detective and polygraph examiner, he said.

“He is a graduate of the Canadian Police College; Polygraph school, and the Federal Government Polygraph school in South Carolina. While working with the State Police, Mike was the lead homicide investigator in the high profile Janet Baxter case. He was also selected to be the principal instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for Interview and Interrogations.”

Mitchell is past president of the Maine Polygraph Association, as well as the Maryland Polygraph Association, according to Lancaster.  He was vice president of the Maine State Troopers Association and a former board member of the Maine State Employees Health Commission. He also was a former member of the Canaan Planning Board and a former Skowhegan Area High School wrestling coach.

“As Chief Deputy, Mike is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, which includes the jail, law enforcement, civil and court security,” Lancaster said. “I am extremely pleased to have Mike assist me in running the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and moving forward my goals and objectives for the agency. I believe that Mike’s return to Maine from his supervisory position with the Department of Defense will greatly benefit the Sheriff’s Office and the residents of the county we serve.”

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