Lt. Kevin Gerrish has been selected to become the next deputy chief of the South Portland Police Department. Photo courtesy of South Portland Police Department

SOUTH PORTLAND—Lieutenant Kevin Gerrish was selected on Dec. 8 as the next deputy chief of police for the South Portland Police Department. He replaces Amy Berry who served as deputy chief for nearly 20 years and retired in August after 44 years with the department. After going through a long process to apply for the position, City Manager Scott Morelli announced Gerrish was selected out of the four lieutenants that applied for the position. 

Gerrish assumed his new role after passing a physical fitness and drug test. On Dec.17, Gerrish was sworn in as deputy and his first day was Dec.20. His annual salary will be $100,880. Due to the holiday, he hasn’t had a full week, but during his first few days in his new role he has been getting to know the job. Due to department heads leaving, Gerrish has found himself starting from scratch, but has been receiving help from his whole department.   

“This has been my 20th year with South Portland Police Department,” Gerrish said. “I have been learning the job. It has been a learning experience as I take on this new job. I have been finding something new every day and I am eager to learn as I go.” 

Gerrish attended Husson University and holds both a master of science and a bachelor of science degrees in criminal justice. He continued his education and training by attending the FBI Command College, FBI-LEEDA Executive Leadership Institute, International Chiefs of Police Leadership in Police Organization class, South Portland Leadership Academy and several others.

He began working for the department in November 2001 and has served more than six years as a sergeant and has been a lieutenant for two years. In January 2019, Gerrish began his lieutenant career. He has commanded the Southern Maine Regional Crisis Negotiator team, headed the department’s candidate recruitment team, patrol functions, training, evaluating and has assisted in supervising.

“I have held numerous positions while working with the South Portland Police Department,” Gerrish said. “I have worked on the patrol level, attended numerous education/training courses, and have been a sergeant for over six years and lieutenant since 2019. I previously worked at the State Youth Center Long Creek, where I was a juvenile correction officer. I was there for about three years.”   

Gerrish also founded the annual South Portland Police Department Awards Ceremony and the pancake breakfast. Gerrish and his sons can be seen cooking breakfast each year. 

“The town is fluid, always changing and might be different next year,” Gerrish said. “There has been a lack of police officers; we have been down five officers.  We are currently in the process of interviewing. We want to make sure we have enough staff out on the streets. We also don’t want our officers to feel burnt out while trying to keep up with the times. We will be hiring a new police chief in the next month or two. I am full of ideas and take pride in this department.” 

South Portland’s civil service ordinance limits the internal candidates for the deputy chief position to existing lieutenants who meet certain qualifications. Three of the departments four lieutenants applied and each were subject to an assessment center and associated ranking. The candidates were then interviewed and ranked by the South Portland Service Commission, and then were interviewed for a second time by the members of the commission, current interim police chief and the city manager. 

The city will begin its search and interviewing process to fill the police chief position that has been left vacant since former Tim Sheehan resigned from the department in April. The search has been ongoing since the summer, but no candidates were chosen. Until the position is filled, retired Middleton, Massachusetts, Police Chief James DiGianvittorio has been serving as the department’s interim chief. 

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