Rhode Island State Police

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State Police are raising concerns about the state’s medical marijuana program. At issue is the role of caregivers, who are licensed by the state to grow a small number of plants for medical marijuana patients.

Rhode Island State Police spokesman Major Kevin O’Brien says last year police searched the homes of 21 caregivers. More than three-quarters of them were growing more marijuana than the law allows.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

State Police say they’ll be beefing up patrols during the upcoming New Year’s holiday.  State Police Colonel Steven O’Donnell is urging motorists not to drink and drive.

State Police say they’ll use state Department of Transportation money to add extra patrols around the New Year’s holiday. Troopers will be raising enforcement for speeding, driving while impaired, aggressive driving, and texting while driving, among other offenses.


Rhode Island State Police and a number of organizations are holding a public forum Monday to discuss the gap between law enforcement and minority communities. 

Col. Steven O’Donnell said it’s a chance for law enforcement to explain how they do their job and in return residents can reflect on how police are perceived. “There’s so much that we do that people really don’t know, and I think it’s important that they know what we’re doing. We’re not always going to be perfect, but if we engage that community there’s a better understanding of how we do business,” said O’Donnell.

File / RIPR

More troopers will be out on the roads starting Friday cracking down on drunk drivers.

State Police will roll out two initiatives. The first one starts Friday with troopers looking out for aggressive drivers, drivers who are texting, seatbelt violations, and drunk or impaired drivers. That runs through New Year’s Day.

Two leaders of a heroin distribution ring have pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Providence to drug and weapons charges. The pleas come after a sixteen-month investigation to disrupt their drug trafficking organization.

Richard Pena and Henry Ortiz pleaded guilty to charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin and fentanyl. State police head Colonel Steven O'Donnell said that’s one result of months of work by a team of investigators from several agencies. The other is busting up a sizeable drug operation.

John Bender / RIPR

Many Rhode Islanders marked the 13th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks at a ceremony at the statehouse today.

On hand were elected officials, members of the state’s police and fire units, as well as victims’ family members. Pat Nassaney, the father of Shawn Nassaney, who died on United Airlines Flight 175, which struck the south tower of the World Trade Center, addressed the crowd.

John Bender / RIPR

Lieutenant Colonel Michael Winquist, of the Rhode Island State Police, has been announced as Cranston’s new police chief.  The appointment comes following a difficult period for the department.

Winquist steps into the position following the retirement of former chief Marco Palombo Jr. Palombo left in the midst of a scandal during which police officers ticketed cars in wards of city councilors who voted against a police contract. The search for his successor also drew controversy, with some groups claiming that the search criteria effectively ruled out candidates of color.

The Rhode Island State Police and the Attorney General have concluded their investigation into beleaguered Central Coventry fire district.  There are no pending criminal charges.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Rhode Island State Police trooper Roupen Bastajian had just crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs went off. He was one of many who rushed into the chaos to help the injured. He talks with Rhode Island Public Radio's Catherine Welch about that day and how it's changed him a year later.

Last year’s marathon was the 117th and 117 is Bastajian’s  badge number. It was a beautiful day, other state troopers were also running the marathon and he did it, he crossed the finish line. Minutes later, as he was on his way to the medical tent, the first bomb exploded.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung announced Thursday that the investigation into a police parking ticket scandal has been concluded. State police confirm a Cranston police captain violated police regulations.

Fung took the podium at a press conference to break the news: “Today we are announcing the

recommendation, and that is the recommendation of termination for Cranston police captain Stephen Antonucci.”

Ian Donnis / RIPR

State Police have responded to calls by two Cranston city councilors to investigate a ticketing blitz that took place in November.

Mayor Allan Fung announced the State police's participation at a press conference Thursday.

The two city councilors, Paul Archetto and Steven Stycos, say their wards were unfairly targeted with parking tickets because they voted against a proposed police contract earlier in the year.

Some 130 tickets were issued in their wards; only nine tickets were issued in the rest of the city during the same time period.

file / RIPR

The Rhode Island State Police have beefed up patrols, cracking down on drunken drivers. State police are also pulling over drivers for texting and driving and not wearing a seat belt.

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.

State Police To Be Outfitted With Tasers

Oct 14, 2013

Rhode Island state police have a new weapon in their war on crime.

Rhode Island state police have purchased Tasers for all troopers and are training them in their proper use. 

State police commander Colonel Steven O’Donnell said the aim is to prevent the use of firearms where possible.

"The feedback is great. It’s another tool to protect them and to protect other people. And they’re a great tool on the street. People know what a taser does so when you deploy a taser you get a lot more compliance instead of just verbal commands," said O'Donnell.

John Bender / RIPR

Several weeks ago, a  shooter opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington D.C.  It turns out the suspected shooter Aaron Alexis was in Newport prior to the shooting.  During his stay Newport police were called to his hotel room, and he reported hearing voices.  The encounter, combined with others, has spurred debate about whether authorities should have seen red flags and done more.