Gráinne Perkins

Gráinne Perkins

Board Member


Why Did You Get Involved in the MIHC?

Supporting the Maine Irish Heritage Center is a way to honor and celebrate Irish heritage while fostering cultural diversity and appreciation. It allows me and other individuals to contribute to the preservation and promotion of an important aspect of Maine’s cultural fabric, providing a space for sharing stories, traditions, and experiences that help build a vibrant and inclusive community. I found the center online when looking up activities in Portland.


Dr. Gráinne Perkins is currently the Chief of Police and Executive Director of Public Safety at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to this, she held the position of Interim Director of Police Accountability for the Seattle Police Department. Her professional experience spanning 3 continents and working with 4 different police agencies is complemented by sustained criminological research. She has published works on the occupational and organizational aspects of policing which include, but are not limited to, police trauma including police suicide, memorialization in policing, and the use of body-worn cameras. She holds two Masters from Ireland and was awarded the 2019 Richard Block Award for an outstanding thesis for her PhD in Criminology from the University of Cape Town South Africa. Her police experience ranges from community policing in Ireland to international work with Interpol and she has spent 15 years as an operational police detective investigating serious offences including homicide and organised crime. Dr. Perkins was an adjunct professor at Seattle University and has taught criminology courses and guest lectured at the University of Cape Town, University College Dublin, and at the Max Planck Institute in Germany.

Irish Roots

My grandmother, an O’Malley from Renvyle in Connemara, was born and raised adjacent to the castle once inhabited by the legendary Grace O’Malley, also known as Granuaile Ni Mhaille, after whom I am named. Following that, my mother was born and raised in Bushmills, Northern Ireland, while my father’s family originates from the dockland area in Dublin. With their combined boating history and my own affinity for the water, it’s no wonder that settling by the waterfront felt like a natural choice for me, which led me to Portland. Born and raised in the Northside of Dublin, Ireland, I proudly embrace my Irish heritage as an Irish woman.

Interests & Hobbies

I have a great fondness for traveling via RV, and I’m thrilled to say that I have only two states remaining to visit in the United States. Additionally, I have one continent left to explore. Among my varied interests, I hold a deep appreciation for the arts, particularly fine art. I also enjoy running. It allows me to challenge myself physically, clear my mind, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. For the last 5 years in Seattle, I have worked and volunteered at the IF Project which focuses on the reintegration of formally incarcerated females back into communities and working with Elder friends, a support group for senior citizens. I am hoping to find similar volunteer groups here in Portland.