PARIS — Michael Madden, a 28-year law enforcement veteran, was officially sworn in as the new chief of police at a short ceremony at fire station Tuesday evening. 

Speaking to a crowd of about 40, including his family, town officials, residents, local law enforcement leaders and a contingent of officers from his former police department in Shelton, Conn., Madden said he intended to cultivate the potential he sees in the Paris police.

“The current members of the Paris Police Department are skilled, knowledgeable, dedicated officers that take a lot of pride in this community,” Madden told the assembly. “I think together with the continued support of the townspeople, we can make this the best police department in all of Maine.

“We will be very involved in this community,” he emphasized. “We will train; a lot. We will be visible. We will be strong in the face of danger. We will be compassionate and sensitive at the appropriate times. Above all, we will be professional.”

The Board of Selectmen confirmed Madden’s appointment last month. He was hired following a months-long, in-depth interview process. 

Madden, who graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, spent his career working his way up from a patrolman to the deputy chief for the 54-member police department in Shelton, a city of more than 39,500 near New York City. 

In contrast, the Paris department has seven full-time officers covering a town with a little under 5,200 residents. 

The most common question he’d received so far was why he decided to move from a larger, urban department to Paris’ small, rural force, Madden said, following his swearing-in.

“The answer is vision,” Madden said. “Throughout the entire (hiring) process, I saw a town government that sees real hope and concern for the citizens and addresses the quality-of-life issues that face them. 

“I saw an opportunity to integrate all my experience and knowledge on a smaller scale and bring this department leadership, stability and professionalism,” Madden told the crowd. 

Developing the department’s potential would require the support from town government and residents, the chief said. He pledged to work in collaboration with other local law enforcement, fire departments and emergency services, the school district, and the media.

There would be funding requirements to keep the department moving in the direction it was headed, Madden said, and he expected to meet with town officials soon to plan and strategize how to meet the department’s goals.

“We have a duty to work together in the interest of public safety,” Madden emphasized.

Madden is expected to begin his duties full-time Monday, Oct. 7.

Interim Chief Jerry Hinton, who was contracted by the town on a part-time basis in May, will assist in the transition.

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