No shortage of experience in race for Merrimack County sheriff

  • Dennis Crawford, Republican candidate for Merrimack County Sheriff

  • David Croft, Democratic candidate for Merrimack County Sheriff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/29/2020 5:34:28 PM

The first wide-open sheriff’s race in Merrimack County since 2006 pits a current deputy against a former police chief, both of whom emphasize their law enforcement experience.

The sheriff’s department in each of the 10 counties provides a variety of law enforcement tasks. The most visible is providing security in all courts and transporting prisoners from jails to court hearings but the department also provides dispatch service in many smaller towns, serves warrants and civil papers, and helps find fugitives from justice.

The department has about 70 employees, roughly divided between full time and part time, and an operating budget of around $4 million.

Scott Hilliard, a Republican, has been sheriff since 2006 but resigned in February after a drunken driving conviction. A half-dozen people ran to replace him.

The Republican candidate is Dennis Crawford. He has been a deputy sheriff at Merrimack County since 1984. He retired as supervisor of operations at the Sheriff’s Office in 2007 and has stayed as a part-time deputy since then.

Crawford emphasizes his long connections to the department in campaign materials and says he will work to restore integrity and “team spirit” to the department, partly by focusing on training and communication.

The Democratic candidate is David Croft, who was police chief in Boscawen from 1997 to 2007, having been a corrections office and police officer before that. After 2007 he served as director of the Alternative-to-Sentencing Program for the Merrimack County attorney and as a sheriff’s deputy in Merrimack County.

He says he would seek ways to “hold minor offenders accountable without them having to receive the heavy burden of a conviction” … which could help them “become responsible, contributing citizens, which would, in turn, save countless tax dollars.”

For more information, check their websites: Croft at, Crawford at

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