Portland police will promote a 20-year veteran of the force to the department’s second highest post.

Major F. Heath Gorham Portland Police Department photo

F. Heath Gorham was named assistant chief of police as part of a restructuring of command staff, the department announced Friday. Gorham will take over the job Sunday. He is expected to be officially sworn in at a later date.

Gorham was selected from 21 applicants. He most recently oversaw the uniformed patrol division at the rank of major. In his new role, he will take on oversight of the investigative and support divisions, as well as the department’s behavioral health unit and the dispatch center, which handles emergency calls for Portland and South Portland.

“Heath’s local experience, focus and relationships within and across the department, city and state will be crucial as he steps into this new role,” said Chief Frank Clark in a statement. “I look forward to the remaining promotions that will help us fill out the command staff and continue to move the Portland Police Department forward.”

Before becoming a police officer, Gorham served in the Air Force as a K-9 explosives detection handler and as a police officer. He has served as the city’s FBI-certified bomb technician and previously oversaw Portland’s hazardous devices unit.

He was recognized as officer of the year in 2005. That year he also received a heroism commendation for detaining a combative suspect for an extended period when police radios were down, said police spokesman David Singer. Gorham was promoted to sergeant in 2009, lieutenant in 2016, and major in 2017.


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