EAST PROVIDENCE — When Joseph Tavares relinquishes his position as Chief of the East Providence Police Department on July 1, 2014, Major Christopher Parella will assume the post on an acting or interim basis, The East Providence Post and eastbayri.com confirmed the anticipated move earlier this week.
City Manager Paul Lemont acknowledged the move during a phone conversation Monday morning, June 23, but offered up few other details on the subject.
“I’m not going to comment at this time,” Mr. Lemont said, bluntly.
Chief Tavares, seemingly embattled with a disaffected group of his officers since he came on the job back in 2009, announced his resignation in early May. He will give up day-to-day oversight of the department on July 1. His retirement will not become official until August 31.
“This has not been an easy job, but then again I have never been interested in taking on the easy jobs,” Chief Tavares wrote in his statement. “When I was first hired as Chief of Police in 2009, the East Providence Police Department was facing layoffs, a reduction in personnel, along with severe budget cuts. As I prepare my exit I am happy to report the East Providence Police Department is once again growing in membership and is on its way to becoming an accredited police department. We have been able to deliver an unprecedented level of training and career development to those who embraced the opportunities.”
As noted Mr. Lemont declined to get into many specifics regarding the position, but did say for the moment Major Parella will rise up through the natural chain of command to the over-see the department. He would go no further in stating whether or not Major Parella is being considered to take over the position on a permanent basis.
It’s not the first time Major Parella, as second-in-command, has taken the reins of the EPPD. He served as interim chief for about six weeks in the spring of 2013 when former City Manager Peter Graczykowski placed Chief Tavares on administrative leave, a move that was later overturned by the Budget Commission, which held ultimate authority over personnel matters at the time.
The current manager did allow himself to announce, now that the opportunity has presented itself with the vacancy in the chief’s office, he is considering some changes to the EPPD management structure.
“I’ll announce something shortly,” Mr. Lemont said. “I am considering a reorganization of the department, how things are set up over there.”
Chief Tavares, a city native and East Providence High School graduate, departs active law enforcement service after 35 years on the job, having spent the bulk of his career (30 years) working in various capacities in the Warwick PD.
“Joe Tavares is a good man. I like him,” Mr. Lemont said. “I think he’s a man of integrity. He deserves to be recognized and applauded for his outstanding career in law enforcement.”