Hundreds Turn Out In Support Of 'Community Safety Act' In Providence

Sep 15, 2016

More than 100 supporters gathered at Providence City Hall Wednesday evening for the first public hearing on a proposed ordinance known as the Community Safety Act.

The CSA seeks to reduce potential racial profiling by city law enforcement.

A sign bearing the words 'Accountability makes us safe, not more police.'
Credit John Bender / RIPR

The ordinance includes 12 central points, several of which are variations on state law and the current the Providence police code of conduct. Most expand the definition of racial profiling and procedures for handling police stops, said community organizer Vanessa Flores-Maldonando.

“What we’re trying to do with the CSA is to have some sort of legal documentation so that the police knows we’re watching them, one; two, we have ways now to hold them responsible,” Flores-Maldonando said.

Other points ask for oversight of police labor contracts, the ability to recommend changes to the city budget, and requirements that agencies partnering with city police follow the ordinance.

Providence Police and Mayor Jorge Elorza’s office have been hesitant to comment on the proposal, but say they’ve been in talks with the activist groups involved in crafting the ordinance. Previously, city law enforcement objected to some aspects of the ordinance, saying it would impede their ability to carry out investigations and ensure public safety.