A Medomak Valley High School graduate with an extensive law enforcement background has formally announced his candidacy for Knox County sheriff.

Michael Lloyd Phillips said in a news release that he will seek the Republican nomination for sheriff. He originally had filed an intent with the state to run as an independent candidate but said he decided to run as a Republican because it is in line with his lifelong philosophy.

Phillips said he grew up locally, graduating from Medomak Valley High School in 1992. Following high school, he spent seven-and-a-half years in the U.S. Army as a military policeman.

“During that time, I received training in many areas, such as police dog handler, narcotics investigations, explosive detection, special reaction team training; I became a field training officer and firearms instructor and traffic accident investigator,” he said in the news release.

Following his military career, Phillips served for seven years as a police officer for the City of Rolla, Mo., where he was a narcotics detection dog handler, drug interdiction officer, DARE officer and member of a SWAT team.

While in Missouri, he received two life saving medals and two outstanding arrest awards.

Phillips returned to Maine several years ago. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“I believe knowledge and dedication to a higher education is a key element to success,” Phillips said.

He has volunteered with the Cub Scouts and youth sports. He has a 12-year-old son Zakary.

“My ‘new face fresh ideas’ is not just a catchy phrase,” Phillips said in the news release. “It is the foundation to my platform of bringing leadership, discipline and accountability to the office of sheriff. With my military and civilian law enforcement background [and] my Department of Corrections experience I intend on leading the Knox County Sheriff’s Office by example and ensuring that the citizens of Knox County get the protection and services they require and deserve.”

He said he would stop in every town in the following months to encourage the residents to ask him questions and share their concerns about their community.

“I intend to be as open and approachable to questions, complaints and advice on how we can work together and make Knox County a safer and more protected place to live and raise our children,” he said. “If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at mikek9max@yahoo.com.”