Rees taps acting Portland Police Chief Sauschuck for permanent appointment

Acting Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck has been chosen by City Manager Mark Rees to take on the position permanently, after a months-long search and what was described as a rigorous gauntlet of tests for applicants for the job.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck

The City Council will consider confirmation of the appointment at its Feb. 6 meeting. With the council’s expected blessing, Sauschuck, who has run the department since previous chief James Craig departed in July 2011 to take the top job at the Cincinnati (Ohio) Police Department, will become the 19th permanent chief of the Portland Police Department.

Here’s the rest of the city announcement of the proposed hiring, complete with statements from Sauschuck, Rees and Mayor Michael Brennan, as well as a description of the hiring process and Sauschuck’s background:

“I am very excited to make this announcement,” stated City Manager Rees. “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 has been with the Portland Police Department for fifteen years.  After graduating from high school, Sauschuck joined the Marines where he was sent to Camp Pendleton, San Mateo, California. During his five year tenure, he served as a Corporal then Sergeant within the Marine Security Guard in San Salvador, El Salvador and Moscow, Russia. After four years as a reserve police officer with the Old Orchard Beach Police Department, Sauschuck joined the Portland Police Department where he worked in a variety of specialties including the crisis intervention team, special reaction team and as a field training officer. In March 2011, Sauschuck was selected as the department’s Assistant Chief, where he served as Chief James Craig’s second in command and directly oversaw criminal investigations, uniformed operations and emergency communications.

Upon Chief Craig’s departure in August, Sauschuck led the Police Department as Acting Police Chief during which he oversaw a department of more than two hundred employees and an annual budget of $13.4 million. Over the past five months, Sauschuck has worked both internally to advance progressive policies designed to help the department respond to the needs of the city as well as externally to build open and trusting relationships with various community groups and leaders.

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected to serve as the City of Portland’s Police Chief,” stated Sauschuck. “For fifteen years, I have 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.”

Over the past decade, Sauschuck has received a number of awards for his commitment to the department and the community including the Sgt. Michael J. Wallace Award, the Enrique Camarena Memorial Award from the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Heroes with a Heart Award. Sauschuck earned his Bachelors of Arts in Criminology from the University of Maine in 1998 and completed a Command Training Series for police executives at Rogers Williams University in 2010. He is married to fellow Portland Police Detective, Mary Sauschuck.

“I congratulate both Chief Sauschuck and City Manager Rees on the outcome of this search,” stated City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “Portland will undoubtedly benefit from Mike’s leadership. He understands the city and has built trusting and open relationships not just with his fellow officers and City Hall but with the community as a whole.”

Today’s announcement marks the end of a five-month search for a new Police Chief. A nationwide search effort was initiated last fall. More than eighty candidates applied for the position and after an initial vetting process, five candidates were invited for a round of interviews with two panels comprised of city staff, union representatives, Police Department staff, members of community organizations and local business leaders. Following the interviews, the candidates participated in a day-long assessment organized by Massachusetts company, Badgequest. The Assessment included a variety of exercises designed to test and assess the candidates ability to lead the city’s Police Department. Select candidates were then invited back to the city for a final interview with City Manager Rees, during which, Rees selected Sauschuck for the top post.


Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.