Frank Clark was sworn in as Portland’s new police chief Friday, taking the oath of office before an audience that included his wife and daughter during a ceremony at Merrill Rehearsal Hall.

Clark, a former lieutenant in the South Portland Police Department, replaces Michael Sauschuck, who was chief for six years. Sauschuck left to become assistant city manager in July 2018 and then was appointed state commissioner for public safety by Gov. Janet Mills in December.

City Manager Jon Jennings chose Clark for the post in July. The other finalist was Vern Malloch, a 35-year veteran who had served as interim chief in Portland for a year. Malloch retired after being passed over for the chief’s position.

Clark, a Scarborough resident, began his career in South Portland in 1988 as a patrolman, spent seven years as a narcotics officer with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and was promoted to sergeant in 2002 after a three-year stint as a detective. He became a lieutenant in 2005, and served as acting police chief for an extended period in 2014.

Since 2005, Clark has overseen the development of standards for the South Portland department, creating policies and guiding the department through its first law enforcement accreditation process.

“Throughout the interview process, Frank demonstrated a commitment to developing a 21st-century department looking at all ways to innovate and create a more efficient work environment for our highly dedicated and professional set of officers,”  Jennings said at the time he selected Clark.

Clark, who will earn $129,636 a year as Portland’s chief, has said he will continue ongoing efforts in Portland to recruit and retain a diverse group of new police officers, prioritize community policing strategies and use crisis intervention techniques to try to de-escalate situations.


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