South Portland Deputy Police Chief Amy Berry. File photo courtesy of South Portland Police Department

SOUTH PORTLAND — In a proclamation recognizing the retirement of Deputy Police Chief Amy Berry, the city of South Portland thanked her for the past 44 years of service to the community.

The South Portland City Council saluted Berry with the proclamation on Aug. 17, and city staff and residents expressed gratitude for the work she has done over the years. The proclamation was read by Mayor Misha Pride.

Berry, who retired in August, started her career in South Portland in 1977.  She became the first female sergeant in the state of Maine in 1984 and was promoted to lieutenant in 1985.

“Amy Berry was promoted to the rank of deputy police chief in 2001 and became the only female officer with a rank higher than sergeant in the history of the South Portland Police Department,” the proclamation said. “As deputy, she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the entire patrol and detective bureaus within the department; for oversight of the command and investigations, dispatch, and the support and services division; supervision of the three patrol lieutenants; and oversight of internal investigations, which she conducted in a professional and correct manner.”

She is a member of the International Association Chiefs of Police, was a 1997 graduate of the 190th Session of the FBI National Academy and served on the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Board of Trustees for 23 years, having served as a past chair, the proclamation said.

Thanking her family, Berry said she could not have accomplished what she has without the background support.

“I did join law enforcement because I wanted to make a difference,” Berry said. “I think over the course of the years, I have done that, whether it’s the South Portland Police Department and my years serving the department and the variety of ranks and the variety of ways; or the years with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, making a difference for law enforcement statewide, not just within the city of South Portland, but across the state.

“I’m extraordinarily proud of all I have been able to accomplish.”

City councilors congratulated Berry on her successes and how she broke barriers as a woman in law enforcement.

Pride thanked Berry for serving and protecting the community with honor.

“We’re lucky to have had you for the time that we did,” Pride said.

Resident and vice-chair of the South Portland Human Rights Commission Pedro Vazquez said that he was thrilled about the proclamation.

“Deputy Chief Berry has been a tremendous ally in this community, serving on the human rights commission and really uplifting our ability to affect and uplift our community,” Vazquez said.

Berry showed Stephanie Weaver, human resources director, kindness and professionalism when Weaver first started with the city, she said. She thanked Berry for her guidance, leadership and sense of humor.

Wanting to make an impact, Berry said that she believes her goal has been met.

“Although my time with the city of South Portland is at an end, I’m not done making a difference yet,” she said.

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