To the editor,
The latest controversy within the East Providence Police Department provides a compass to the solution.
Chief Tavares has served for some four years as the Chief of Police. For the most part this was characterized, publicly at least, as rather benign.
Yet, recently, evidence of deeper, more troubling aspects of the Chief’s tenure has emerged.
A significant majority of his own command voted no confidence in him.
Political maneuvering brought in the State Police to conduct an investigation. This uncovered nothing criminal but is telling of the management techniques in place that stirred the issue.
Now, Chief Tavares himself has asked for the State Police to conduct regular patrol operations within the City to “motivate” his officers. This strikes me as odd. Wouldn’t the ability to motivate members of your command be a prerequisite for the position of Chief of Police?
I have the greatest respect for the State Police, but if the solution to all the problems within the cities and towns is to have the State Police take over, than do it. It won’t happen, because it wouldn’t work. Their Uniform division serves a different purpose.
This is a local Chief that has lost the respect and control of his department.
To be a leader does not require those in your command to like you, it doesn’t require them to agree with you, it doesn’t even require their consent to your authority, it does require their respect.
Respect cannot be demanded, cannot be compelled, and cannot be ordered. It must be earned. And, once lost, it is virtually impossible to recover.
By seeking outside assistance to accomplish the responsibilities of the position of Chief of Police, Chief Tavares acknowledges he has lost the respect of the members of his command, and therefore the ability to lead that department. A true leader would recognize this and step aside for the good of the organization.
Captain (Ret.) East Providence Police Department