Col. Steven O'Donnell

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If you watch too much television news or listen to too many politicians, you may have the impression that crime is on the rise. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on why perceptions have not caught up with the drop in crime.

Sophie Kasakove

Jim Vincent, president of the Providence NAACP, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to begin a formal national search for a new state police superintendent to replace Col. Steven O’Donnell, who is retiring after more than five years on the job.

Vincent said a national search is necessary because the top brass of the state police currently lacks any women or minorities in a position to apply for the job.  "We need a national search so that Rhode Island can get the best possible superintendent.’’

Happy September! The approach of fall brings plenty of fresh developments on the politics beat. So thanks for stopping by for my weekly column. As usual, your tips and comments are welcome, and you can follow me through the week on the twitters. Here we go.

Col. Steven O'Donnell of the RI State Police joins Bonus Q&A to discuss a wide range of issues, including corruption, organized crime, gun violence and more.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Col. Steven O'Donnell of the RI State Police joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the debate over the secrecy of the 38 Studios investigation; police-community relations; and diversity hiring within the State Police.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Alan Fung says he is sorry for police misconduct on his watch. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay assesses the damage to the once-promising political career of Republican Fung.

Kristin Gourlay

Update: Fung says he will address the report tomorrow:

  The state police report  released Monday on the Cranston police department portrays a law-enforcement  force in disarray and infected with dysfunction and political favoritism, including serious failures by Mayor Alan Fung, the Republican candidate for governor in 2014, and members of his administration.

Elisabeth Harrison

After the release of a video showing a Texas traffic stop that escalates into an arrest for Sandra Bland, an African-American woman who was later found dead in a prison cell, some Rhode Islanders say they are disturbed, but not surprised. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Elisabeth Harrison has our story.

In a patch of shade across the street from Pawtucket City Hall, Dwayne Adams sighs deeply and says yes, he has heard about Sandra Bland.

John Bender / RIPR

The state Senate has started scheduling confirmation hearings for four of the nomination made by Governor Gina Raimondo for her administration. The first four hearings center on holdovers from Lincoln Chafee’s time in office.


The confirmation process for Governor Raimondo’s nominees is slated to start next Tuesday. That’s when separate Senate committees will take up the nominations of Charles Fogarty as head of the Division of Elderly Affairs, and of State Police Colonel Steven O’Donnell to remain director of the Department of Public Safety.

State police say minimal and appropriate force was used when arresting a protester in Providence last week.  The Providence NAACP called for an investigation.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A four-month long investigation has resulted in the arrests of nearly three dozen accused drug dealers. The investigation targeted narcotics activity in Central Falls.

Starting in June Central Falls police noticed an uptick in shootings. They suspected it was drug related so they called in the state police to help them out.  The result was the arrests of 35 individuals over a four month period and the seizure of a sizable collection of illegal drugs, said Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Steven O’Donnell.



For Immediate Release


October 29, 2013


Contact:        Major Todd Catlow

 Rhode Island State Police

                        Detective Commander

                        RISP Headquarters

                        (401) 444-1006