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.