NORWAY — Authorities at the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said no preferential treatment was shown to Paris police Chief Michael Madden when a deputy pulled him over and charged him with drunken driving over a week ago.
Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said a deputy went “by the book,” showing no incongruities in how the situation was handled.
Madden was stopped by a Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy on Harrison Road, which is Route 35, in Naples just after midnight on Nov. 21 after reportedly operating a vehicle erratically. A field sobriety test was conducted, and Madden was taken to the Bridgton Police Department where a breathalyzer test was done and he was issued a court summons, police said.
Last week, police said Madden was arrested, booked and posted bail, information erroneously reported to the Sun Journal.
On Monday, Gagnon said Madden, because he was cooperative, was detained by a deputy, taken to the Bridgton Police Department, issued a summons on a charge of operating under the influence and driven to his home in Harrison.
“It’s a bit of semantics. The court has ruled a person is not free to leave, though they’re not technically under arrest,” Gagnon said.
He also said Madden was pulled over on Harrison Road and not Wiley Road, which is where police first observed the vehicle operating erratically.
Gagnon said deputies are given discretion when determining if a suspect should be booked at the jail. Severity of the offense and the likelihood the individual poses a flight risk are the primary factors, he said.
“It’s not uncommon for us to do so. We do it this way all the time. … In this case, the summons is the guarantee of a court appearance. It’s not like it’s preferential treatment,” Gagnon said.
The deputy’s report from that night is sealed by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office, a spokesperson said Monday. The results of a blood-alcohol test are not expected to be made public until after Madden’s arraignment Jan. 20 at Bridgton District Court.
The Sun Journal learned of the charge after an anonymous tip on Nov. 25, which the Sheriff’s Office confirmed the following morning.
The details provided by Gagnon were gleaned from the document to media outlets “so you guys can do your job,” he said.
Confusion as to whether Madden was officially arrested surfaced after no mention was made in the weekly list of arrests posted on the Sheriff’s Office’s website, which tracks individuals arrested and processed at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland.
Typically, following an arrest a bail commissioner sets bail conditions for the period before the defendant can appear before a judge.
Another administrative report, a police activity log for Naples, shows deputy A. Feeney responding to an event at the same time and date as those given for when Madden was pulled over.
A short description on the nature of the event, available for 44 of 46 of the events listed on the weeklong activity log, was not provided. Gagnon said he was unsure why other OUIs were listed on it while Madden’s was not.
In an email on Saturday, Madden referred all comment on the case to Matthew Nichols, a Portland-based attorney specializing in OUI law, who did not return a message seeking comment.
In addition to the court case, Madden faces possible disciplinary action from the town and state overseers.
Madden, 50, was named chief of the department in October 2013, leaving his job as deputy chief of police in Shelton, Conn. He has worked in law enforcement for 29 years.
Contacted last week, Town Manager Amy Bernard previously indicated Madden would return from accrued vacation time for duty this past weekend, but declined to comment on the matter, referring questions to the town attorney, who did not return several messages.
Based in Vassalboro, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Board of Trustees is authorized to issue and revoke certifications for all law enforcement personnel in the state.
Director John Rogers said town officials have 30 days after a court conviction or the date of the conduct to refer the matter to its Board of Trustees, after which it will launch its own investigation.
Trustees review around 50 cases a year, split between law enforcement and corrections officers, he said.
Pending its investigation, the board has a variety of options, including formal letters of reprimand, ordering counseling, or suspending or revoking licenses.
Factors such as the severity of the offense and whether the individual “took ownership” of the infraction play into the eventual decision, he said.
In 2013, the board suspended or signed consent agreements with 23 law enforcement officials and had another 15 revoked or voluntarily surrendered, according to an annual report.
“We have to play by the rules because any sanctions must be by the book,” Rogers said.