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In Strafford County, Both Candidates for Sheriff Back Law Enforcement Reform


The race for Strafford County Sheriff includes two candidates who both support a range of police accountability reforms.

Paul Callaghan, 54, is currently a lieutenant and investigator at the Strafford County Sheriff’s Office. The Republican from Rochester backs a list of policy recommendations released this summer by a New Hampshire commission formed in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, including more training on de-escalation techniques and the release of a long-secret list containing the names of discredited officers. 

“I have almost 34 years of police work, 16 of those years as a police chief or senior level executive position,” he said. “I have a history of getting things done.”

Callaghan is facing fellow lieutenant Mark Brave, 35, a Democrat who lives in Dover. If Brave wins, he would be the first known Black Sheriff in New Hampshire state history. 

Brave says that racism in the state plays out in different forms than elsewhere in the country.

“We don’t have the police brutality, but we have a different form of that stuff,” he says. “It is a silent form of it, I call it. It is something that it isn’t in your face, but it exists.”

If elected, Brave says he would support more community-focused policing including regular meetings with members of the public, and an end to the “old guard” style of law enforcement where departments shield information.

Callaghan has served in both mental health and drug courts during his time in law enforcement, and considers himself a “compassionate” police officer. 

The candidates are looking to fill a seat being vacated by David DuBois, a Democrat who served four terms as County Sheriff.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.
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