East Providence Police Chief Tavares put on administative leave, Parella takes top spot

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EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares has been relieved of his day-to-day duties leading the department, been placed on administrative leave by City Manager Peter Graczykowski and Major Christopher Parella has been installed as acting chief, The East Providence Post and eastbayri.com learned and was first to report mid-day Tuesday, April 16.

Chief Tavares was told of the decision by Mr. Graczykowski and Human Resources Director Kathleen Waterbury at the end of the business day Monday, April 15. The chief turned in all his city-related equipment, including his cell phone.

“This is a personnel matter and I cannot comment in detail,” Mr. Graczykowski said Tuesday afternoon. “All I will say is that Chief Tavares has been placed on administrative leave and Major Parella has been appointed acting chief until further notice.”

Mr. Graczykowski said, per the City Charter, the decision to place Chief Tavares on leave was under his “jurisdiction.” While the subject may come up at the City Council meeting scheduled for later Tuesday evening, it has not been added to the agenda.

The City Manager’s decision ends what has at times been an awkward three-and-a-half-year stint of Chief Tavares at the helm of the East Providence Police Department. He replaced Hubert Paquette in the role.

Chief Tavares was an appointee of a past manager and council, coming to East Providence after having served the same position in Warwick. While Chief Tavares is a city native and East Providence High grad, he was not a member of the EPPD previously.

Of note during Chief Tavares’ tenure EPPD detectives worked on the now-famed Google case, which gave the department access to some $60 million in asset forfeiture funds, the bulk of which was recently used to help settle the city’s outstanding pension liability to police officers.

Detractors of Chief Tavares, however, pointed to numerous and outstanding personnel complaints initiated by officers under his charge.

Mr. Graczykowski refused to comment on any specific reasons for his decision, noting the situation remains an active personnel matter and an investigation is pending.

 

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7 Comments

  1. David_P said:

    Where is Mayor Briden? He had better reign in the other council people who are leading the city manager around by the hand. My first suggestion would be to immediately cease all negotiations with the city manager and notify him that not only will he not be getting a contract but that his position is being posted. If he’d like to apply then go right ahead. The city manager has allowed specific council people to dictate day to day operations. That alone should be grounds for his replacement. He has not started negotiations with any department heads, it appears his attitude is that if he doesn’t get a contract then no one else does. We have a great library and planning director and we’re going to lose them to another community. Let’s bring back Townie pride by starting at the top.

  2. davis bacon said:

    The Budget Commission has just left and the city manager has proven that he is incapable of acting responsibly without their oversight. This council and manager are in need of adult supervision.

  3. Jake said:

    This police chief was set up. If anyone needed to go it is the city manager, but wait Mr. Briden is going to be there to give the city manager a contract and a key to the city. Briden has his puppet on a string, the entire city council should vote the city manager out…but they won’t, they all like the corruption.

    Good luck Chief Tavares, you are a man of integrity, who did not deserve that. You will be missed by a lot of people who knew you as one of the most honest and respected Chief’s EP has ever had.

  4. Candy Seel said:

    I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but there’s been complete silence since this story first broke.

    Until we get further information, it’s useless to speculate, BUT, unless there’s a criminal investigation going on, to my way of thinking, letting the Chief go–and especially in this manner–is the crime.

    I’ve spoken with the Chief many times over the several years that he’s been in his position, both at Fraternal Order of Police Associates meetings and at City Council meetings. We worked together for several years planning the annual police memorial services. I’ve known the Chief to be an honorable and honest man who is devoted to law enforcement, to his police force and to his community. He has my respect, always has, always will, unless I’ve completely misread him.

    If I were a cynical person, I might think that the City Manager and whoever on the Council is supporting this action could hardly wait until the Budget Commission lifted its thumb somewhat so that they could relieve the Chief of his duties and appease elements in our City that have been disgruntled since the day he arrived.

    I hope I’m proven wrong, but cynicism seems to be a valid response to so many actions taken by our City.

  5. ringo said:

    Why does it feel like the city manager made this move to help to renew his contract. On the day his contract is being reviewed he puts police chief on leave. Maybe its time to put city manager under the microscope.

  6. davis bacon said:

    The city manager doesn’t have a contract to renew. He was hired without one and the former mayor (bruce rogers) touted that as a significant point in favor of his being hired. Now the manager wants an employment agreement and will throw anyone under the bus in order to get it.
    No doubt the officers who are critics of the chief will turn out to be the same as those who were critics of the former chief (and chiefs before that). Traditionally, east providence has hired its chiefs from within; so the end result of the internal agitation is promotional. Chief Tavares’ hiring disrupted that flow but it looks like the malcontents of the police department have allied themselves with the city manager to ensure that regular promotions to chief are available to the politically connected rather than the competent.

    Clearly, the city manager is acting to further his own interests and not those of the community.

  7. nmccau7199@gmail.com said:

    Thank You !!! Chief Tavares is a honest man. They want him out just like the last one. And there will be some after the next one,
    that person is probably already waiting.

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