PARIS — Paris Police Chief Michael Madden believes he’s accomplished enough in two years to not feel too much regret when he sees the town fade behind him in his rearview mirror.

He has officially put in his notice and his last day of work will be Wednesday, Oct. 7, when his contract expires.

“I am not resigning, I’m just opting out,” he said from his office in Market Square on Tuesday. “I’m not going to renew (my contract).”

The driving factor in leaving Paris and returning home to Connecticut is his 88-year-old mother, who’s battling skin cancer that has spread to her lymph nodes. Madden is the only family member who can fully take care of her, he said. His brothers and his father died at early ages and another brother has his own health issues, Madden said.

Madden said he told his mother a month ago he would return home soon and she was relieved to hear the news. He remembered a story about when he was baptized, when the priest told his mother that baby Mike would be strong for her in her later years.

“She said, ‘Wow that priest is right. You’ve been here for me the past couple of years,’” Madden recalled his mother saying when she learned of his impending return.


Madden arrived in Paris in October 2013 and didn’t intend to leave in the middle of his three- to five-year plan to rebuild the town’s Police Department.

“The family issues are weighing on me,” he said. “Family comes first. I need to go take care of business.”

The chief said some of his detractors likely will blame his leaving on his operating under the influence conviction, stemming from an incident last year. That isn’t the case, he said.

“If I was going to leave because of that, I would have left before the interim town manager position,” Madden said. He served roughly four months in that role while Town Manager Amy Bernard was on maternity leave.

In April, Madden pleaded guilty to operating under the influence and was fined $500. Following an administrative hearing, his license was suspended for 150 days, and he was suspended from work without pay for 30 non-consecutive days. In addition, he paid for the installation of breath alcohol ignition interlock devices in his personal vehicle and a town police cruiser. The devices require the driver to blow into them before starting the car and while the vehicle is in motion.

In a public meeting weeks after the plea, Madden tearfully apologized to friends, family, co-workers and the public for his unprofessional behavior and said he made a mistake.


Madden said this week that he and Lt. Jeff Lange accomplished more than they had originally anticipated during Madden’s abbreviated time here.

“If I felt like I’m leaving unfinished business, then I wouldn’t say it’s time,” Madden said. “I came to fix, rebuild it and get morale back to make it the best Police Department we can. I think we’ve come to a crossroads where if we’re going to do anything more, it’s going to cost a little bit more money.”

When Madden arrived, there were stacks of papers in the department. There wasn’t much that had been filed electronically, and operating protocols were outdated by about 14 years. He and Lange went through the approximate $591,000 operating budget and got rid of things that were no longer needed, including insurance for nonexistent dispatchers.

“It’s stuff that goes through the cracks if you don’t have someone to look at it,” he said, noting they were able to knock 0.7 percent off the department’s budget the first year.

This year’s budget increased by 2.7 percent, mostly due to wage increases from collective bargaining that were negotiated before Madden arrived, he said. He thinks that’s a moderate increase. The department now has a total of 16 full- and part-time officers. His officers are highly trained, with probably some of the best training in Oxford Hills, he said.

“We’re doing something you don’t see other police departments doing  we’re tackling the drug problem head-on,” he said, noting that his officers aren’t afraid to kick in drug dealers’ doors and Lange‘s help in developing the Western Maine Addiction Task Force. “You’re getting your own police service with a phone call away to the county sheriff. That’s the best police service you can get.”


The chief said some people have complained about the new police cruisers that were purchased during his tenure. He showed a stack of repair bills at least an inch thick for the department’s current and former vehicles, some of which he called junk. He said he was pleased he hasn’t had a repair bill since April.

But what he’s most proud of is the boost in morale he’s seen since he and Lange arrived in Paris. In the early days, officers would patrol all day and never stay in the office. There was overtime available that they couldn’t even give away. But slowly, his employees began trickling in and spending more time at the office, even those off-duty.

“I think that these guys enjoy coming to work now,” Madden said. “They want to go out and solve crime and make their community a better place. Sometimes you come (into the office) and the whole department is in. That’s so important in a police department. Your safety zone is the guys you work with. Knowledge is power. You have to know what’s going on in town.”

It’s going to be tough for the chief to leave his employees behind, he said.

“That’s the hardest thing to walk away from,” Madden said. “I think they’re some of the best police officers in the state of Maine. Once the morale is back and the team buys into the project, there’s nowhere to go but up.”

When he returns to Connecticut next month, he will focus on his business, The Madden Group Artist Management, which promotes, books and manages contracts for the Marshall Tucker Band and four Celtic rock groups throughout New England. He also has his eye on a job in the private sector that focuses on public outreach.


As for his replacement, Madden has recommended Lange to Town Manager Bernard.

“He’s been the workhorse,” Madden said. “I’m proud of him. I think he’s come a long way himself. I think he will be an outstanding leader. It’s his time.”

Bernard said Wednesday that Lange will serve as interim chief while the search for a permanent chief is underway. While Bernard makes all final hiring decisions, she will give the Board of Selectmen the option to open the position to the public, as has been done in the past for the town’s department heads.

“The fact that he does get a good recommendation from the outgoing chief will help him for that process for sure,” Bernard said of Lange.

Madden promised to see the transition process through and said it would be a smooth one, something which the town isn’t accustomed to. But he’s been told by former police chiefs over the years that he would know when it was time to hand in his badge.

“I’ve done it for 30 years,” Madden said. “It’s been a great career and it’s time. I’m excited about the future.”

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