Deputy Chief Jack Clements will take over as chief of the Saco Police Department, city officials announced Friday.

Clements, who has been deputy chief since 2017, was appointed chief by City Administrator Kevin Sutherland after a search committee unanimously recommended him for the position following interviews with six candidates. His appointment is expected to be confirmed by the City Council on Aug. 5.

Clements, 50, began serving as interim chief when former Chief Raynald Demers and Deputy Chief Corey Huntress were on paid leave in March during an investigation of misconduct allegations. Both were cleared and returned to their jobs, but Demers retired in June, three months after the police unions took a vote of no confidence in him and officers described a toxic work environment.

Jack Clements Photo courtesy of the city of Saco

“Clements’ reputation as fair but firm and always leading by example resonated through his colleague’s comments about his character, knowledge and experience,” Mayor Marston Lovell said in a statement.

Clements, who grew up in Kennebunk, has been working in law enforcement for 30 years. He started his career as a police officer in Windham before moving to Nevada to work with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. He retired from that department as a lieutenant and moved back to Maine to become a deputy chief in Saco.

In Las Vegas, Clements served in a variety of roles, including as a detective, community policing sergeant and lieutenant of several divisions.

Clements said Friday that he and his wife wanted to return to Maine to be close to family and raise their two daughters.

“It’s about the people here,” he said of his decision to apply to be chief. “The people who work here really care about the community and the job they do. When you work in an environment like that, it’s fun.”

Clements said he is leading a strategic planning process with a bottom-up approach that will examine the department’s values and develop new goals for the agency, he said. This process involves employees from across the department.

“I think the atmosphere around here is really good. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t be here,” Clements said. “I think the Saco Police Department is entering a new chapter and I’m excited to be part of it.”

Members of the interview team praised Clements for his character and passion for his job. Jean Saunders, director of Age-Friendly Saco and a member of the interview team, said Clements brings a scope of experience and leadership qualities that “will serve the citizens of Saco well.”

“We have complete faith in his abilities to lead our agency and are honored to serve with him as our chief,” said Cpl. Ted Gagnon, who served on the hiring committee.

As chief, Clements will oversee a department with 52 employees, including 34 sworn officers.

City officials on Friday could not provide details about how much Clements will be paid as chief. Clements will be sworn in after his appointment is confirmed by the City Council.

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