PORTLAND — The search for the city’s next chief of police is down to two finalists, with City Manager Jon Jennings expected to choose a candidate within the next month.


Jennings in May announced the finalists in the nationwide search were interim Chief Vern Malloch, South Portland Police Department Lt. Frank Clark, and David Mara, a former chief in New Hampshire who now advises that state’s governor.

A total of 28 candidates, all male, applied for the position, according to the city. Four applicants were from Maine; the remaining 24 came from 18 other states.

Mara has dropped out of consideration, according to the city, leaving only Malloch and Clark, who are longtime members of departments in two of the state’s largest cities.

Malloch has been Portland’s assistant chief since 1984 and the interim police chief since July 2018. Clark has worked in the South Portland department since 1988, and is currently the department’s public affairs officer.


Jennings said Malloch and Clark were expected to be interviewed by a community group and committee of police employees and union members this week.

“I’ll sit with those two groups to get their feedback,” he said. “That’s really the last step in the process.”

The new chief will replace Michael Sauschuck, who became chief in 2012 and retired last July after more than 20 years in the department. Sauschuck became an assistant city manager, but in December 2018 was tapped by Gov. Janet Mills to lead the Maine Department of Public Safety.

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