By Kristine Baber
Mark Brave is running for Sheriff of Strafford County, a race that usually receives little attention. This year is different. Demands for law enforcement reform and accountability mean any elected law enforcement official will come under scrutiny. Mark, who would be the first Black Sheriff in the history of New Hampshire, is ready for this challenge.
Currently, Mark is a lieutenant with the Strafford County Sheriff’s Office where he has worked for three and a half years. He oversees the Standards and Training Unit which includes the responsibility for meeting certification standards of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Mark is an Instructor of Fair & Impartial Policing, an evidence-based approach that focuses on identifying, reducing, and managing implicit biases. If elected Sheriff, he would like to extend such training to the smaller towns in the county.
When Mark talks about law enforcement, the conversation quickly turns to community policing and the importance of treating everyone with dignity and respect. He is passionate about reducing barriers between the public and law enforcement. Committed to maintaining on-going dialogue with the community, he will work to bring transparency and accountability to the Sheriff’s Office. To this end, he recently signed the Black Lives Matter pledge to bring about change, not just talk about it.
Although he describes the Sheriff’s Office as “ahead of the curve in regard to best practices,” Mark believes there are still important improvements to be made. He envisions a more comprehensive approach to community policing and hopes to “spearhead efforts to bridge the gap between the social service world and law enforcement.” This would include recruiting new deputies with backgrounds in education, social services, and mental health who represent diversities of all types. Acknowledging his benefits from others’ work to reduce systemic biases, he wants to pay that forward. For example, as Sheriff, he would actively encourage those in underrepresented groups to consider and pursue careers in law enforcement.
Mark holds both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University. He credits an undergraduate internship at Rikers Island and his many mentors for his choice to pursue a career in law enforcement. Prior employment includes serving with the Lawrence, Massachusetts Police Department, the Capitol Police in Maine, and the Rochester Police Department.
Mark has lived in Dover for eight years with his wife, Jaime, who is Associate Chief Nursing Officer at Portsmouth Hospital, and their three children, Mallory, Grace, and Cal, all Dover public students. Consistent with his commitment to community involvement, he has coached youth in Dover’s Recreational League, volunteered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and Habitat for Humanity, and serves on the board of Seacoast Educational Endowment for Dover (SEED). When he is not working or volunteering, Mark relaxes by doing yard work and gardening, playing golf, walking, and solving challenging puzzles.
Mark wants voters to know that his door is always open to them. As Sheriff, he would strive to provide the highest quality of service and the greatest safety possible for all people in Strafford County. Working in collaboration with the people of the county, with other law enforcement groups, with mental health care providers, and with other service agencies, his goal is to provide a Sheriff’s Office that people in the community understand, are proud of, and trust.
Kristine is a retired UNH professor who has lived in Dover since 1984. She is past Chair of the Dover Dems and currently serves on the Candidate Recruitment & Campaign Committee and the Energy & the Environment Action Group.