Lt. Gerard Madden’s career has come full circle.

Madden started out as a Maine state trooper on Jan. 2, 1985, assigned to the Troop D barrack based in Thomaston. More than 25 years later, on April 16, Madden concluded his career as commander of the barrack.

The retirement is bittersweet in that the barrack that has been such an important part of Madden’s professional life will be closed in two months. The Troop D barrack is the oldest state police center in Maine but is being shut down as a budget saving move.

Madden was raised in New York but came to Maine to attend Unity College and study wildlife biology.

“I always wanted to be a police officer or a game warden,” Madden said. This led him to Unity College, which offered the program he wanted.

His first post was as a trooper in Troop D patrolling the southern end of the region in Bath/Brunswick. He then patrolled the Gardiner/Chelsea area.

Being a state trooper is different than being in a large municipal department, he said, since backup assistance could be around the corner or a half-hour away. A trooper must be strong with verbal skills to defuse potential altercations with people who are upset or angry.

“You have to know how to deal with people,” Madden said.

He quoted a former colonel in the state police as saying that being a police officer is a great career because one has a front row seat to the greatest show on earth.

“In any single hour, you can have 59 minutes of boredom and one minute of panic,” Madden said.

After more than 10 years in patrol, he was promoted to detective in the criminal investigation division. The division investigates serious offenses including child abuse, manslaughter and murder cases.

The case that most sticks in his mind is the solving of the “cold case” of the December 1983 murder of Mervin “Sonny” Grotton. Grotton, a naval officer based in Rhode Island who was set to retire, was gunned down outside his Belfast home. The case went unsolved for nearly 20 years.

State police and agents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Services were able to get Grotton’s widow to implicate herself, and in August 2002 she was convicted of hiring someone to kill her husband. She was sentenced to 70 years in prison.

Since Madden became commander of the Thomaston barrack in June 2005, two events have been particularly compelling. One was when an armed man was inside the Stockton Springs school in October 2008 and the other was when a prison inmate held hostages at the Maine State Prison in Warren in July 2008. In both instances, law enforcement officers were able to defuse the situation without a fatality.

Madden said that after his retirement he plans to do investigative work for a private company.

The veteran officer said he is sad to see the Thomaston barrack being prepared for closure. He said the Thomaston building is not only the oldest of the state police barracks, it is also the most visible, being located on Route 1.

“The Thomaston barrack is the marquee for the Maine State Police in Midcoast Maine,” Madden said.

He said many people stop in at the barrack on any given day, whether it’s to ask for police assistance or for directions. Sometimes fellow officers from around the world stop to visit. Madden said law enforcement is a big brotherhood and sisterhood.

He said an officer from England stopped in who had previously sent an e-mail to ask about places to visit. The local troop provided the visitor with information on places to stay and activities in the Midcoast.

Madden said that when the widow of former Maine State Trooper Drew Griffith stopped once at a police station outside Maine, she asked if officers there had a patch that her then young son could have. One officer said they had no spare ones, but he ripped off the patch he had on his uniform and gave it the youngster.

“That is how close a family officers are,” Madden said.

One trend in law enforcement that Madden is most pleased with is the involvement in schools.

“We want children to know that officers are not just there to write tickets and arrest people,” he said.

When the Thomaston barrack closes, officers will be assigned to offices in Augusta. The state budget shows that the projected savings from the closure will be $14,000 next year from the general fund and $13,541 from the highway account for a total of $27,541.