Providence – Providence Mayor David Cicilline has chosen an outsider, Dean Esserman, as the new chief of police in Providence.
Esserman's last post as a police chief was in Stamford, CT. He has served as chief of the metro north railroad police, the assistant chief in New Haven, CT, and as a New York City prosecutor. He comes to Providence after a brief stint as a private consultant. He has a four year contract and will earn $138-thousand a year.
Mayor Cicilline says it took just three hours to choose Esserman. He had initially asked Esserman for advice.
"It was clear during the meeting that first of all he had tremendous experience and that he understood experience of linking the community to the police department. The police department can't be at war with it's own community. That really matched my own vision," said Cicilline.
Esserman is know for pressing innovative programs, such as assigning officers to specific neighborhoods and requiring recently released inmates to meet police, before returning to communities. When asked about violent crime, Esserman stressed the community approach.
"Our officers will do tough things. But we will not allow ofrficers to go into communities and use tough tactics without first having talked to that community and told them what we're doing," said Esserman.
Esserman is the first permanant police chief here in two years. He is assuming the helm of a troubled department. He promised to address past problems, including the promotional testing scandal. Esserman also said the department must comply with a judge's order to document the race of every motorist stopped by police in the city.
"You'll have some say He's a nice guy.' Then, you'll have other who probably didn't appreciate what he did in other departments. They'll say we didn't feel comfortable with him," said Providence Fraternal Order of Police Financial Secretary Robert Quinn.
Some officers have expressed concern that Esserman is a life long administrator. He never worked as a patrolman.
"A lot of police officers will tell you the most exciting day in their career was their first day on the job, and it was downhill from there. Any number of people who worked for Dean will tell you that stopped when he came aboard," said Stanford Mayor Daniel Milloy.