MOUNT DESERT — “I was raised [to believe] that everybody has something good about them, but there are some people in this world that are truly evil,” Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane said of the “gangs” that are selling illegal drugs in Maine.
He was speaking Oct. 20 at the annual Acadia-area League of Towns meeting of elected municipal officials at the Somesville Fire Station.
Kane said he doesn’t agree with everything Gov. Paul LePage, a fellow Republican, says, “And his delivery system is a little rough, I think, for most of us. But he hit the nail right on the head when he said this [drug] problem is coming from out of state.
“The problem is that the people who come here are gang members. They are dangerous people. They will kill you in a heartbeat. All they care about is selling their poison and taking their money back out of state.”
Kane said law enforcement agencies in Maine are “barely keeping our heads above water with the drug problem,” and the situation won’t improve “until we eliminate the demand for the product.”
“We need to get into the schools and the communities and educate the public just how dangerous these drugs are.”
At the same time, he said, law enforcement needs to be strengthened. And as part of that, a drug-sniffing dog will join the Sheriff’s Office next year.
“We’re going to use it as a patrol dog, but also as a drug dog to help us do searches,” he said. “We’ll use the dog in the jail, too; people bring drugs into the jail in many ways.”
He said the ability to have a dog on the force came about as a result of a talk he gave at a League of Towns meeting several months ago, where he mentioned that as one of his goals.
“A week later, a gentleman called and asked what the holdup was, and we told him basically it was money,” Kane said.
Soon after that, the man showed up at the Sheriff’s Office with $20,000 he and some of his friends had collected.
“He said, ‘There’s your canine,’” Kane said.
The Hancock County jail, which has a capacity of 58, often is full, he said, and the jail population is “driven by drugs.”
Kane said much of the drug problem can be traced back to the over-prescription of pain medication.
“Pretty soon, the pain pills aren’t strong enough, and they’re too expensive, so [people] go to heroin,” he said. “And now, some of the other drugs that are being mixed with heroin [are so potent that] half the size of a grain of rice will kill you.”
Kane said his officers soon will start carrying Narcan, the drug that can be used to reverse the effects of an overdose of heroin and other opiates.
“We can administer Narcan, and hopefully it will save them,” Kane said.
Narcan already is being used by a number of law enforcement agencies around the state.
The elected municipal officials at the Oct. 20 meeting voted to make the area’s drug problem a focus of the League of Towns for the coming year.