BANGOR, Maine — After nearly three decades on the beat, Bangor police Sgt. Allen Hayden has decided to retire.

His colleagues at the Bangor Police Department will bid him farewell during an official retirement coffee reception at the station Thursday morning, Sgt. Paul Edwards said Wednesday in a news release.

According to Edwards, Hayden began his career in law enforcement in 1984 with the Skowhegan Police Department.

In April of 1987, Hayden joined the ranks of the Bangor Police Department, where he remained ever since.

After a brief stint as a patrol officer, Hayden in 1990 became involved with establishing the department’s Special Response Team, which still exists today.

“His work to help establish the team will always be a testament to his dedication in making the Bangor Police Department a unique and self-sustaining department that provided our officers with certified training techniques in tactical areas in order to respond much quicker to volatile situations,” Edwards noted.

Hayden also became a K-9 handler in 1988, a specialty he continued with until about 1992, when he was tapped to serve as the department’s training officer. In that capacity, Hayden taught firearms and defensive tactics not only to officers in his own department but also to cadets at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

In 1994, he went back to patrol while continuing to represent the K-9 division until March 2003, when he was promoted to the rank of sergeant.

At that time, Hayden became a certified K-9 trainer. As such, he managed the program in his department and trained personnel in other area departments until his retirement.

“Hayden, a very big man in stature, will always be remembered as the gentle giant of the department,” Edwards said, adding, “Hayden will enjoy retirement with his wife Annette in Bangor and plans to build a hunting camp in the very near future.”