police

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

Providence police officers will be outfitted with body cameras, thanks to a U.S. Department of Justice grant for $375,000, the city announced Monday. The grant will pay for the purchase of 250 body cameras to be worn by uniformed officers.

City officials said the cameras are meant to compliment work already being done by community policing initiatives.

John Bender / RIPR

City officials in Providence are considering an ordinance aimed at racial profiling by the police. The measure is known as the Community Safety Act. And advocates say it’s needed to address discrimination against minorities, especially in heavily policed neighborhoods. 

John Bender / RIPR


Chuck Hinman / RIPR

Providence poet Christopher Johnson is one of 20 candidates for Poet Laureate of Rhode Island. He is also facing charges of assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct after an encounter last spring with a Providence police officer. Johnson wrote about that encounter earlier this month for Motif Magazine, in an essay called Walking While Black. He spoke to Rhode Island Public Radio’s Chuck Hinman about his case.

Woonsocket Police Department

Woonsocket resident Dondi Willis, 47, collapsed at the Woonsocket Police Station Monday morning while awaiting transport to court. Woonsocket emergency personnel brought Willis to Landmark Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. 

Police said Willis had no struggle with officers prior to his collapse.

The Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Attorney General are investigating the death. Woonsocket authorities say it is standard procedure to conduct an investigation after anyone dies in police custody.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Wednesday night State Police invited the public to tell them how to do their jobs better. More than 70 community members showed up at Roger Williams University's Providence campus to engage in that dialog. Police brutality was a top issue, but participants pointed to the bigger issue: racism.         


RIPR FILE

The team will support Providence police already stationed there. The security team began work in downtown Providence at the start of July. The transit authority has hired the Allied Barton security firm. Workers will be posted at Kennedy plaza seven days a week. They are uniformed, but unarmed.

Kennedy Plaza is one of the busiest bus hubs in the state. Recently the plaza underwent a major renovation, which opened up the space and installed security cameras.

Elisabeth Harrison

Rhode Island officials, citizens, faith groups and more have been reacting today to the violence in Dallas. 

Many Tweeted their reactions, posted on Facebook, or sent statements to our newsroom. We've collected many of them in this Storify below (scroll down).

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

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