PARIS — Michael Madden will begin working as chief of police within a month, after his appointment was unanimously approved by selectmen at their meeting Monday evening. 

Madden’s confirmation ends a months-long nationwide search for a chief to head up the department, which has faced challenges and controversy in the past two years. 

Madden, who has spent the last 28 years working his way up from patrolman to deputy chief at the Shelton (Conn.) Police Department, told selectmen he was honored to be given the opportunity to work in Paris.

“This is a real skilled, talented group of police officers,” Madden said. 

“All we need is some fine-tuning to try to get this department back to where it needs to be so we have everyone knocking down the door to become a Paris police officer.”

He pledged to selectmen he would roll up his sleeves and get to work to make the department a highly professional force with a good base of support in the community.

“Let’s bring this town and this Police Department together so we can really make a difference here,” he told selectmen. 

A graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Standish, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in communication, Madden has served as deputy chief of police in Shelton, a city of more than 39,000 people a little more than an hour northeast of New York City. 

Paris’ interim chief, Jerry Hinton, told selectmen Madden started as a patrolman in Shelton and moved his way up, becoming a K-9 officer, detective and deputy chief. 

In 2008, Madden graduated from the FBI National Academy, making him one of the 1 percent of U.S. law enforcement officers to do so, Hinton said.

In an interview prior to Monday’s meeting, Town Manager Amy Bernard said she was struck by Madden’s forthright manner when she interviewed him for the position. 

“He struck me as fair, straightforward and honest; a straight shooter,” she said.

Bernard said Madden had glowing recommendations from his supervisors and passed through the application process with excellence.

“Mr. Madden will be an excellent asset to the Paris Police Department, and provide the leadership required to assist the department in meeting the communities’ expectations,” Bernard told selectmen in a memo distributed before the meeting. 

Madden’s annual salary will start at $58,000, which may be increased to $59,000 after a favorable performance evaluation. He is expected to begin working full-time at the department on Oct. 7.

The Paris Police Department has been in turmoil for more than a year. In June 2012, a proposal to merge the Paris and Norway departments was defeated by Paris voters. Controversy over the merger vote coincided with the resignation by a number of veteran Paris officers. 

Last November, Chief David Verrier resigned to take a job with the Maine Correctional Center in Windham. His successor as interim chief, Lt. Michael Dailey, served until May, when he left the force for a job with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office. 

Hinton was contracted by the town to fill in as a part-time administrator in the department in May. Hinton has shepherded the department over the summer and through a controversial proposal to disband the force entirely in favor of contracting with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office. That proposal was rejected by voters in June. 

In the past two months, the department has suffered a loss of manpower as two officers left the force and another is away training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.  

Last week, Hinton said the manpower shortage created a situation where Sgt. Hartley “Skip” Mowatt will need to cover two patrol shifts in town while also working as the SAD 17 School Resource Officer at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. 

Madden will be formally sworn in as in a ceremony 6 p.m. Oct. 2, at the Paris Fire Station on Western Avenue.


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