Jeff Gallagher, a veteran Maine Marine Patrol officer and supervisor, said he believes he can make the Knox County Sheriff’s Office more efficient and effective.

Gallagher announced recently that he is running for sheriff as an independent candidate.

The post is held by Sheriff Donna Dennison. Dennison is expected to be challenged in the June 8 Democratic primary by Thomaston Police Officer Timothy Hoppe. The deadline for party candidates to file papers is March 15 and unenrolled candidates have until June 1.

Michael Phillips of Warren has taken out papers for the Republican nomination.

The general election is Nov. 2.

Gallagher lives in Rockport and has been a Knox County resident for 32 years. He was born in Caribou and started his law enforcement career with stints in Washburn and Caribou. He took one year of criminal justice courses at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and then joined the Marine Patrol.

He spent 23 years with the marine law enforcement agency, retiring as a sergeant and assistant to the chief. In that role he developed multimillion dollar budgets, hired staff and oversaw training for officers.

Gallagher taught at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and was a supervisor with the Marine Patrol in his final four years there.

After retiring from the Marine Patrol, he sold insurance for four years and then for six years worked at Bank of America.

The veteran officer said he sees the sheriff’s role as both a challenge and a new opportunity to serve the public.

“I think I can make a difference,” Gallagher said. “My main focus would be to make the department more effective and efficient.”

Gallagher said he would strive to have a good working relationship with the county commissioners and the county administrator.

“I’ve always gotten along with everyone I’ve worked with,” he said.

Gallagher sought the sheriff post in 2002 when he challenged incumbent Sheriff Daniel Davey in the Republican primary. That race was won by Davey in November 2002.

Despite running for sheriff, Gallagher said he is not a politician.