NORTH SCITUATE — Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, announced that the Rhode Island State Police has concluded an investigation of allegations of improprieties and irregularities associated with the East Providence Police Department. Col. O’Donnell did so through a press release issued mid-morning Thursday, July 11.
On April 15, 2013, East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares was placed on administrative leave by City Manager Peter Graczykowski and human resource director Kathleen Waterbury. Less than a week later, the Budget Commission was reseated by the R.I. Department of Revenue to continue state oversight of the city. In late May, the Budget Commission passed a resolution reinstating Chief Tavares and requested that a State Police investigation be conducted to determine if any criminal statutes had been violated when the chief was placed on administrative leave.
The East Providence City Charter prohibits members of the City Council from interfering with the city manager regarding appointments and removals of employees serving the city in an administrative capacity. The city manager is solely responsible for this duty and shall not be directed or requested by members of the city council in regards to the appointment or removal of administrative personnel including the police chief.
Allegations had been received by the Budget Commission that certain members of the City Council had unlawfully influenced the city manager to place Chief Tavares on administrative leave so that the city manager could retain his position by obtaining a new contract. The city manager serves at the pleasure of the city council.
Over the past several weeks, several individuals were interviewed pertaining to the aforementioned allegations. These interviews failed to reveal sufficient facts to meet the probable cause standard required to bring forth a criminal charge. Councilwoman Chrissy Rossi and Councilman Thomas Rose Jr. exercised their right to counsel and did not fully cooperate with the investigation.
The East Providence Budget Commission also requested the investigation of allegations of an improperly administered promotional exam, as well as other internal matters. These issues were determined to be administrative in nature and referred back to Chief Tavares for review by his professional standards unit.
The State Police has reported the findings of the investigation to the Budget Commission, which is scheduled to hold its next meeting Thursday, July 18, at City Hall.
“Our investigation was conducted professionally and efficiently with the full understanding of how these matters effect a law enforcement agency,” said Col. O’Donnell. “It would have been helpful if all parties involved cooperated to bring all of the facts to light.”