Westbrook Police officers line up to congratulate Capt. Sean Lally on his promotion to chief after the announcement Monday. Chance Viles / American Journal

WESTBROOK — Capt. Sean Lally has been named the city’s new police chief.

Capt. Sean Lally thanks the department for his promotion to chief at a press conference Monday. Chance Viles / American Journal

A 23-year veteran of the department and a former Marine, Lally will replace Chief Janine Roberts, who announced in September that she would retire at the end of the year to pursue her private security business.

Lally was selected by a committee made up of members of the School Committee, City Council, Public Safety Committee and city staff.

“I want to thank Chief Roberts,” Lally said. “This is an honor and a privilege and each member of the panel brought good discussion about the expectations of the city.”

Roberts, who was not part of the hiring process, said the city will be in “great hands” with Lally.

“He’s got a strong character, competence and a passion for serving,” Roberts said. “He also has the support of the men and women in the department and has a desire to make a difference in the community.”

Lally has held numerous positions in the department, including patrol officer, detective and sergeant. He has been a captain since 2015.

He has served as an agent with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and as a liaison officer with the Southern Maine Violent Crimes Task Force. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Technology and is a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy.

“Sean has the full support of his colleagues and is the results-oriented leader that we want for the Westbrook Police Department,” Mayor Mike Foley said at a press conference Monday. “He assumes command of the 44-member department when Chief Roberts retires on Dec. 31 after serving six years as chief and 27 years with the Portland Police Department. We are blessed as a city to have such dedicated public servants like Chief Roberts and Capt. Lally serving our community.”

Lally said he will work to improve transparency and trust in the department.

“Police departments nationwide, for one reason or another, have lost a lot of trust and that will be something to work on and take action for,” Lally said.

Saint Joseph’s College is conducting a study on racial bias and the use of force in the department.

Results of that study are expected in about a month, so any necessary follow-up will be Lally’s responsibility.

Lally also said he wants to keep a strong focus on responding to the pandemic, both in terms of working with budgets and keeping his staff and the community safe.

“That’s the biggest issue for just about anyone right now, the pandemic, and we will continue to focus on that,” he said.

Chief Janine Roberts, gives her successor, Capt. Sean Lally, a hug. Roberts will retire in 2021 after a six-year stint with the department, and decades in law enforcement. Chance Viles / American Journal

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