South Portland has hired a new chief of police, its third in three years.

Daniel J. Ahern, currently the deputy chief in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, will take the job Feb. 1, South Portland City Manger Scott Morelli said Wednesday.

Ahern succeeds Timothy Sheehan, who resigned in April 2021, 15 months after he replaced longtime chief Edward Googins. Since then, police operations have been led by interim Chief James DiGianvittorio, formerly the chief in Middleton, Massachusetts.

Ahern will be paid $127,504, and will spend a week transitioning into the position with DiGianvittorio’s help, the city said in a statement.

“I am excited for the opportunity to work alongside the men and women of the South Portland Police Department,” Ahern said in a prepared statement. “As your new police chief, I am committed to build upon the already strong and trusted relationships with the community. I will work tirelessly in a collaborative effort to provide the professional police services South Portland residents have come to expect and deserve.”

Ahern started his police career in 1994 with Chelmsford, and has been second in command there since 2014.

Morelli said Ahern made a long-term commitment to the city during the interview process.

“Our police department has seen significant change over the past two years so it was important for us to find the right person to both steady the ship and lead the department into the future,” Morelli said in a statement. “I am confident Daniel Ahern will be this person.”

He was selected from a field of nine applicants, five of whom advanced to a second round and were assessed by Portsmouth-based consulting firm Municipal Resources Inc., which assists cities and towns hire for top positions and manage operations.

Three finalists were interviewed by a panel of city and civil service leaders that included Morelli, DiGianvittorio, the director of human resources, the fire chief, the city clerk and four members of the civil service commission.


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