police

Lawmakers are set to consider bills that would require special training for police officers in mental health and substance abuse.

Sponsors of this bill want all police officers to be certified in what's called mental health first aid. It enables them to recognize the signs of mental illness or substance abuse when responding to complaints and emergencies. And it helps first responders de-escalate a crisis.

Providence Police have released photos and a video of a vehicle they say was involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in the Federal Hill neighborhood on Sunday.

The accident at the corner of Westminster Street and Marshall Street claimed the life of an elderly woman and injured her granddaughter as the two attempted to cross the street.

Police said the suspect was last seen fleeing the scene in a dark SUV. They said the vehicle is a newer model and may have hood and grill damage.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Police are maintaining extra patrols this weekend in an attempt to reduce cases of impaired driving.

Law enforcement calls the Thanksgiving holiday weekend one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the roads. In an effort to fight that, State Police and local departments are teaming up as part of what they call Operation Blue RIPTIDE.

This effort is funded by the state Department of Transportation. Extra police patrols will be on the lookout for impaired drivers in high-traffic, high-incident areas.

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A group of University of Rhode Island professors are urging the administration to equip campus police with body cameras.

The URI chapter of the American Association of University Professors, says the school should join the national trend. They say about a third of police officers in the U.S. have body cameras. The group also points to the relative affordability of the cameras, which usually run fewer than $500 dollars each.

URI voted to arm campus police last year, the force was armed this past Spring.

Elisabeth Harrison

Providence College said university officials are conducting an internal investigation into what they call an "unfortunate event" early Saturday morning.

The university said a student was arrested by police.

According to Providence police, the student allegedly tossed lit cigarette at a patrol car, then ran away.

Police said 18-year-old Michael Dormon was charged with resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Dormon was held overnight and released on Sunday.

Police Major Thomas Verdi said Providence College has suspended Dormon, pending a disciplinary hearing.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is opposing the immediate release of a State Police review that found "deep problems" within the Cranston Police Department, including complaints about political interference by Fung and his staff.

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.

Susan Greenhalgh / RIPR

Salty Brine Beach in Narragansett has reopened following a blast that occurred over the weekend. The event injured a 60-year beach goer, who has thrown by the blast into a rocky jetty. The woman sustained fractured ribs, and has been released from the hospital.

State police say they’ve found no evidence of a explosive device or gas line. The agency closed the beach Saturday. Along with the state police, the fire marshal and the Department of Environmental Management also took part in investigations.

John Bender / RIPR

Hundreds of protestors marched through the streets of Providence Saturday demanding better relations with law enforcement. The event took place in solidarity with similar demonstrations in Baltimore.

Flanked by police officers, community members, organizers and activists marched through the streets carrying signs that read "black lives matter," "end police brutality," and simply "resist."

The demonstration was spurred by the recent death of Freddie Gray, a black man in Baltimore who died following injuries he sustained while in police custody.

A protest is expected in Providence Saturday to show support for Baltimore residents, who have been calling for justice in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a black man who died from injuries sustained in police custody.

Baltimore officials announced Friday that six police officers will face charges.  

In Providence, rally organizer Marco McWilliams say he shares concerns raised in Baltimore about the relationship between police and minority residents. 

John Bender / RIPR

Cranston police have begun special training to help them work better with people with autism. The training is geared toward preventing a police encounter from escalating.

Every Cranston police officer will be trained to recognize the signs of autism. And they’ll be equipped to respond to emergencies involving adults or kids with autism. Cranston police Lieutenant Mark Freeborn says the training should help avoid the misinterpretation that autistic behavior is disobedient, or aggressive.

URI To Host Panel On Policing Wednesday

Apr 8, 2015
John Bender / RIPR

The University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus is hosting a panel on policing Wednesday. The talk will bring local and national experts together to discuss the history of policing and racial profiling. Organizer Marc Levitt is moderating the panel.

“The questions I’m going to be asking are about who gets policed, why they get policed, what the history of policing is, and what methods are being considered for policing in the future.”

Levitt says the panel on race and police is part of a series on urban issues at URI. The discussion begins at 7 p.m.

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR FILE

The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is filing a lawsuit against the Providence Police Department.  The ACLU says the department violated the rights of two protesters outside a campaign fundraiser for Gina Raimondo.

Last year Shannah Kurland was arrested for refusing to move during a protest at Roger Williams Park against then-gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo.  Kurland said she was moved so far away from the event, more than 250 feet, that her protest was ineffectual; violating her rights to free speech and public demonstration.

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

Protestors will gather in downtown Providence Monday night to put a spotlight on violent police actions against people of color. A loose coalition of residents is organizing the march to express solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri and 43 students missing in Mexico.

Ferguson is where a white police officer shot and killed a black 18-year-old. In Mexico, 43 students disappeared. It’s alleged they were killed by a drug gang working with local police.

The march starts at 7:00 pm in Burnside Park in downtown Providence and will make its way up to the Statehouse.

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