Acting chief gets top Portland police post

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PORTLAND — The five-month search for a new police chief ended Tuesday when City Manager Mark Rees announced acting Chief Michael Sauschuck will head the department in a permanent capacity.

The appointment must be confirmed by the City Council at its Feb. 6 meeting.

Sauschuck will be the city’s 19th police chief, Rees said in a press release.

Sauschuck is a decorated, 15-year veteran of the department and has served as acting police chief since last August. He was named assistant chief under James Craig in March 2011, and has also filled roles on the crisis intervention and special reaction teams, and as a field training officer.

“I am very excited to make this announcement,” Rees said. “After a rigorous and competitive search, I am confident that we have found the right person for the position. Mike’s commitment to public service, the Police Department and the community is unparalleled. He knows and loves this city, and the community will be well served by the Police Department being under his leadership.”

Sauschuck distinguished himself from a field of more than 80 applicants in panel interviews and assessment exercises during the search process, said Rees, who was also impressed by the acting chief’s management abilities during the past six months.

“I think his department has and continues to be well run” despite the uncertainty of operating without a permanent chief, Rees said.

Sauschuck could not immediately be reached for comment.

In the City Hall press release he said he has “had the privilege to work with an outstanding Police Department and I am very excited to have the opportunity to not only build upon our prior successes but further expand upon and create programs that will improve the safety and quality of life for the people of Portland.”

The city had more than 80 applicants for the job and interviewed five candidates, including Sauschuck, the release said.

Before joining the Police Department, Sauschuck worked as an officer in Old Orchard beach and was in the U.S. Marines, where he served as a Marine security guard in El Salvador and Russia.

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