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Independent vies for Carroll County high sheriff position

Special to the Union Leader

October 10. 2012 11:29PM
Carroll County Sheriff candidate Francis Lord's name wasn't on the primary ballot since he is running as an Independent, but he is a contender for the position and will face off against Domenic Richardi, who ran on the Republican ticket and defeated incumbent Christopher Conley. (LARISSA MULKERN)

OSSIPEE - Francis Lord, who once served as a New Hampshire State Police helicopter pilot and undercover narcotics officer, is running for the job of Carroll County High Sheriff as an Independent.

Lord, who lives in West Ossipee with his wife, Kathleen, said he is running as an Independent, in part to keep the partisan politics out of a job in which he'll serve all of the people.

He was required to collect at least 150 signatures of Carroll County voters to get on the Nov. 6 ballot. He collected double the amount of signatures required, and received a letter from the New Hampshire Secretary of State confirming his name would be on the November ballot.

Lord is running against retired Carroll County Sheriff's Office Lt. Domenic Richardi, who received both the Democrat and Republican nominations for the elected sheriff's slot. Richardi defeated incumbent Sheriff Chris Conley by 140 votes. Both were on the Republican ballot. There was no Democratic candidate in the primary. (See separate candidate profile on Richardi in this section.) This is Lord's second time running for sheriff. He spent part of his 20 years of service with the New Hampshire State Police as a helicopter pilot, conducting search and rescues in the aviation unit, and nearly a decade as an undercover narcotics detective. A native of Carroll County, Lord's dad started a funeral service in Wolfeboro that his brother, Brian Lord, currently operates, Lord Funeral Home.

Lord said he remained somewhat silent before the primary election as he waited to see whom he'd be running against. With Republican nominee Richardi as his challenger, Lord said there are some differences in philosophy, although both candidates believe communication and cooperation are important priorities for the department.

Lord said he and Richardi differ on where the department should be headed to provide the best services possible for Carroll County. Lord said he's not afraid of making difficult decisions, not afraid to lead and not afraid of tackling numerous adjustments in budgets and service to improve the department.

If elected, Lord would immediately abolish the Mortgage Fraud Task Force that Conley established earlier this year.

'This is not an issue that taxpayers need to be funding,' said Lord.

Lord said he would restore a countywide Drug Task Force but opposes restoring some sheriff's office special units that duplicate those offered by the state police.

Those units include the defunct Accident Reconstruction Team, which Richardi would revive if elected.

Lord said bringing back this program would provide redundancy in services from other law enforcement agencies and increase taxes. The Accident Reconstruction Team's reports are provided to insurance companies free of charge, he said, at the expense of taxpayers.

'The New Hampshire State Police has such a unit and are more than willing to assist for free. Additionally, state police are highly proficient due to their years of experience and number of reconstructions they perform,' he said.

Lord favors pooling countywide law enforcement resources by forming a Drug Task Force.

'This will allow law enforcement agencies to work together to build trust between officers and rekindle some strained relations, enhance service while combating the rapidly growing drug abuse problems in Carroll County,' he said.

Lord said he'd put his decade of experience as a narcotics officer to use to investigate and prosecute drug crimes.

'I know what's needed. I know what you can and can't do. I know what drugs are involved and the places that you can get drugs,' he said.

In coming weeks, Lord said he'd continue campaigning by meeting local police chiefs and officers and participating in a number of community candidates' night forums.

'I feel like I can bring a lot to the table,' he said.

Lord has one daughter, Lindsay, who recently completed years of schooling to become a doctor of veterinary medicine.

State law defines many of the duties of the sheriff's office. The department oversees security at the county courts and jail transports, serves legal documents such as subpoenas and arrest warrants, and is in charge of writs of execution, a legal document that requires the department to collect a debt for the plaintiff, such as the sale of a piece of real estate.

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