PARIS — After a turbulent year of staff turnover and questions about its future, the Paris Police Department appears to be back on its feet under the leadership of recently hired Chief Michael Madden. 

Madden said he feels positive about his first three months on the job and believes the department is heading in the right direction.

For the first time in at least a year, the department is nearing a full staff of certified officers. One of its youngest members, Officer Nick Gilbert, graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy earlier this month. Another officer is expected to enter the academy in January, Madden said. 

Officers who serve full time at other agencies are reaching out to be Paris reserve officers, Madden said, an indication of the progress being made at the department.

“When I came on, I said I wanted to make this department the department that other officers would want to serve on,” he said. “That’s beginning to happen now.”

It is a far cry from the fraught situation less than a year ago.

In February, selectmen announced they intended to negotiate with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office for police coverage, which would have meant disbanding the department.

Two-thirds of voters rejected the proposal in a June referendum, after months of fierce debate that hurt department morale and partially contributed to Chief Michael Dailey’s resignation.

Within a month of the vote, Town Manager Amy Bernard and interim Chief Jerry Hinton launched a nationwide search for a new chief.

Selectmen eventually selected Madden, a 28-year law enforcement veteran who left his job as deputy chief in Shelton, Conn.

Madden was sworn in in October, and said he has been putting in long hours to “reboot” the department ever since.

Some of Madden’s changes have been cosmetic — uniform logos for department vehicles and new doors at the station, for example. Others have been more in-depth, such as revising the department’s out-of-date policy handbook.

Madden said he plans to keep making changes in the new year, with more special patrol details, collaborating with schools on safety and looking for more grant money with newly hired Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Lange. 

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Revisiting the top stories of 2013

The Sun Journal staff writers and photographers have updated the top stories in our communities.


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