Following the retirement announcement of current Portland Police Department Interim Chief F. Heath Gorham, the city stated Thursday that Interim Assistant Chief Robert Martin will take over Gorham’s position as of June 1, 2023.
“My time as interim chief was not without challenges,” said Chief Gorham in the city’s Thursday press release. “I am grateful for the dedication and professionalism of the Portland Police Department staff.”
After a 23 year-long career in law enforcement, Gorham will be moving into a new position as a Senior Public Safety Consultant at a nationally recognized consulting firm.
The city’s press release notes that under Gorham’s tenure, the department’s Behavioral Health Unit flourished. That unit is tasked with responding to suspected mental health crises and drug and alcohol addiction.
During his time as Interim Chief, Portland’s Police force was down 30 officers and eight detectives — but managed to achieve three indictments, four arrests, and one conviction related to a cold case.
“I’m thankful to Chief Gorham for his many years of dedicated service to the city, and for his leadership as interim chief,” said City Manager Danielle West. “The last few years have been extremely challenging with the pandemic and staffing vacancies, and he diligently worked to serve the members of our police department and community.”
Gorham, a native of Gray, Maine, is a four-year Air Force Veteran, and has been serving in the Portland Police Department since 2001, receiving a Heroism Commendation and the Officer of the Year award in 2005.
“I am grateful to Chief Gorham for his willingness to serve as interim chief, and for his hard work and leadership during challenging times,” said Portland Mayor Kate Snyder.
“This has not been an easy decision, but I knew when I made the decision not to apply for the chief’s job that at some point I would be leaving,” said Gorham.
“The only thing I ever wanted to be was a cop and I fulfilled that dream alongside some of the finest cops in our state and our country. I feel very fortunate for the opportunities the Portland Police Department has provided me and I am grateful for the friendships and partnerships we have built along the way,” he said.
“I believe wholeheartedly that the Portland Police Department is one of the finest and most forward thinking law enforcement agencies in the country. The city of Portland and our community are incredibly lucky to have such professionals serving them,” he said.
Assistant Interim Chief Robert Martin will take over Gorham’s role at the end of the month, and will remain in that temporary position until the city hires a new permanent Chief.