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New Police Chief Takes Helm At SoPo After Years Of Leadership Turmoil


South Portland Police Department

South Portland Police Department’s new permanent police chief is scheduled to start work in his new role today (February 1, 2022).


Daniel Ahern left as deputy police chief in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, last month to take the position in Maine. Nine candidates applied for the role of chief. Three were interviewed. Mr. Ahern had been at his previous department for nearly 28 years.


Mr. Ahern takes the role after years of uncertainty, turmoil, and changing leadership at South Portland Police Department. The previous 26-year chief there, Ed Googins, retired in January 2020 after a 45-year career in law enforcement. The city has struggled to find a permanent person to replace him and stay in the role.


His initial replacement, Timothy Sheehan, resigned back in April 2021 after only 14 months in the role. He too had come from Massachusetts, having been a police chief in Tewkesbury. Amy Berry, as deputy chief, then assumed the role as chief in his place. James DiGianvittorio was subsequently appointed out of retirement as an interim chief after also serving in police departments in Massachusetts his entire career. He was put in place to give the city time to find a permanent person for the role.



Daniel Ahern

Mr. Ahern had served as deputy chief in Chelmsford since 2014 before leaving to come to Maine. He will start work with a lot on his plate, including employment issues and falling morale.


Several officers have left the department in recent months, and in media interviews Mr. Ahern said retention of officers is a problem. One of officers who has left South Portland, to work for Gorham police department, sued the city of South Portland to hide their disciplinary history from public disclosure, and was joined in the action by officers represented by their unions.

Among those records involved a lieutenant found by a female officer with an ‘inappropriate image’ on his phone while he was asleep in the parking lot of the department. He was reprimanded.


In November, officer Steven Connors committed suicide, though the details about what happened and why have not been reported. He had been with the department for 26 years and was just 50 years old.

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