AUGUSTA — Paris police Chief Michael Madden, charged with drunken driving last November, will be allowed to continue driving at least until a hearing is held on his 150-day license suspension, officials said.

The suspension was to become effective Monday, March 23, but was delayed Tuesday after his attorney, Matt Nicholas of Portland, requested a hearing.

Nicholas could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Madden, 50, of Harrison, took a few days vacation shortly after his arrest, but has remained on active duty.

The Advertiser Democrat discovered last month that arresting officer Sgt. Andrew Feeney of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department did not send the required paperwork to the Secretary of State’s Office that would suspend Madden’s license. Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon said in February that he instructed Feeney to send in the paperwork and that there would be disciplinary action if he breached protocol again.

Robert O’Connell, director of legal affairs, adjudications and hearings for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, said his office received the suspension paperwork, statement of probable cause and blood alcohol test result from Feeney on Feb. 18.

The 150-day suspension notice, which is typical for a first OUI offense, was printed by a computer Sunday. On Tuesday, O’Connell received a request for an administrative hearing from Nicholas.

The request for an administrative hearing has stayed the license suspension in accordance with Maine law, O’Connell said. The hearing will determine if Madden will retain full driving privileges during the ongoing court proceedings for the OUI charge.

O’Connell previously said issues that can be explored during the hearing include whether the officer had probable cause to pull the driver over and whether the driver’s blood-alcohol content was at the legal limit of 0.08 percent or higher.

According to O’Connell, the earliest the administrative hearing would be scheduled is three weeks but he suspects it could be closer to four. It most likely will be in Portland.

With a first OUI offense, if a license is suspended after an administrative hearing, the driver can apply for a special license to drive to and from work and other destinations that are work-related, he said.

If a driver is convicted of OUI, he or she can apply for a work license after 180 days.

When a driver’s license is suspended administratively or there’s an OUI conviction, after 30 days the driver can apply for a lock device that would be installed in their vehicle, O’Connell said. The device checks for the presence of alcohol when the vehicle is turned on and randomly requires the driver to blow into the device while driving.

“If there’s alcohol present, alarms go off and lights go on … and eventually the vehicle will lock (the driver) out,” O’Connell said. It costs between $100 and $150 a month to use the device and must be paid by the driver.

Madden was pulled over on Route 35 in Naples shortly after midnight on Nov. 21, 2014. Police said Madden was driving erratically in his personal vehicle.

Nicholas entered a not guilty plea for Madden in January and the case was transferred from Bridgton District Court to the unified court system in Portland, he said.

Freedom of Access Act requests filed by the Advertiser Democrat with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office for the police report and test results have been denied. The denial letters state that the records are confidential under Maine law and since the charge is still pending and Madden hasn’t been convicted, the Criminal History and Records Information Act trumps the Freedom of Access Act. 

Town Manager Amy Bernard said Tuesday that Madden’s primary role in the department is administrative.

“He’s never been out patrolling,” she said. “When he’s needed for backup, he will back up but that’s not his primary job.”

Bernard did say a driver’s license is a requirement for the chief of police. She declined to comment on whether Madden would continue to work for the town if his license is suspended.

“I can’t discuss that until it happens,” she said.

Bernard — who’s scheduled to go on maternity leave for 12 weeks in May — said it hasn’t been discussed whether she would recommend Madden or someone else to fill in as interim town manager and road commissioner in her absence.

She will make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen, which has to approve the interim town manager and highway commissioner. She said the discussion will happen publicly and likely take place at the end of April.

Madden has worked in law enforcement for 29 years and was hired as Paris police chief in October 2013, leaving his job as deputy chief in Shelton, Conn., a city of more than 39,000 people about an hour northeast of New York City.

He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s College in Standish, with a bachelor’s degree in communication and is a 2008 graduate of the FBI National Academy.

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