Letter: New mayor’s approach to police department changes is ill-conceived

Posted 2/21/19

To the editor:Something is rotten in the City of East Providence, to paraphrase Shakespeare. Barely two months into the new Mayoral form of government and a whisper of politics rises from city …

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Letter: New mayor’s approach to police department changes is ill-conceived

Posted

To the editor:
Something is rotten in the City of East Providence, to paraphrase Shakespeare. Barely two months into the new Mayoral form of government and a whisper of politics rises from city government. Chris Parella, a respected 30+ year East Providence Police veteran and current Chief of Police, resigns.
Following a controversial proposal by the first person to sit in the Mayor’s position to lower the standards for police recruits, it gives one pause.
56-year-old Police Chiefs do not resign from highly regarded and scandal-free departments. They are prodded, persuaded, or pushed. The Chief’s objection to the recruit policy change was common knowledge. Can it be the backroom politics of strong Mayors favoring political favors over ethical and professional standards now raises its ugly head?
There are things to watch for.
An outside Chief selected from a “nationwide” search (generally finding the ideal candidate somewhere in a neighboring city, say Pawtucket,) while passing over the more than qualified career East Providence Police candidates is one sure sign.
Future candidates selected for the department soon creating controversy and scandal is another.
Will the Cianci-style of politics raise a specter over its little sister to the East? It remains to be seen. East Providence has a previous experiment with an outside Chief, brought in for purely selfish political reasons. It didn’t end well.
That’s not to say internal candidates are perfect; history shows when a candidate is selected by political considerations, not qualifications, disaster strikes. Yet that happened because several qualified and competent candidates on the department were bypassed.
This may be just the tip of the iceberg. A Titanic mistake in the making. A hint of future degradation of a once respected and professional department for selfish political reasons.
I wish Chief Parella well in his retirement, he is getting out before his reputation, and that of his department, sink with this ill-conceived and disappointing course of action.
Joe Broadmeadow
EPPD Captain (Ret.)
Albion

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