Providence Police Department

Courtesy of Providence Police Department

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island is once again urging Providence and Newport Police departments to update their body camera policies.

RIPR File Photo

The Providence City Council passed a controversial community policing ordinance Thursday night, known as the Providence Community-Police Relations Act. The measure, which increases protections against police profiling and codifies how police use body cameras, passed overwhelmingly with a 13-1 vote.

Courtesy of Providence Police Department

The Providence Police Department will be the first in Rhode Island to start using body cameras in a couple of weeks. For the most part, the cameras are getting broad support. But the rollout is sparking debate over when and how the cameras and their footage should be used, as well as questions about the costs of running the program.  

John Bender / RIPR

In Providence, advocates of the so-called Community Safety Act have advanced a revised version of the city ordinance they say aims to improve police and community relations.

Major Thomas Verdi, a 29-year veteran of the Providence police department, has been named deputy chief by Col. Hugh Clements, police chief.

Verdi takes the post vacated by former Deputy Chief Thomas Oates, who has become police chief in Woonsocket.

Verdi has recently served as commanding officer of the uniform division. He has also been executive officer of the administrative division and has many years  experience as a detective, an organized crime investigator, in the patrol bureau and in SWAT operations.

Aaron Read / RIPR

  This comes as no surprise, but it is relevant: RI House Speaker Nick Mattiello, D-Cranston is demoting embattled Rep. John Carnevale, D-Providence, from the Democratic House leadership team.

Even at the Statehouse, loyalty has its limits. In this case, pragmatism and campaign exigencies have triumphed. At the capitol, there is nothing like self-preservation as a motivation.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Islanders will have a  chance to pay final respects to Buddy Cianci later this week, when his body lies in repose at City Hall. Even in death, Rhode Islanders debate the legacy of Providence's longest-serving mayor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay shares his thoughts on Cianci.

Katherine Doherty

Rep. Joseph Almeida is requesting that Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza appoint a black police officer as a major in the Providence police department. Almeida, a retired city cop and Democrat who represents a South Side neighborhood, said in a news release that Elorza needs to appoint a black officer to a leading role in the department so that the city’s police force better reflects the demographics of 21st century Providence.

RIPR FILE

Today is the annual Martin Luther King Jr., holiday. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay ponders what we can do to advance King’s legacy in Rhode Island.

The great civil rights leader’s legacy will be celebrated across  Rhode Island today in song, sermon and remembrance.  Voices will echo with the strains of James Weldon Johnson’s `Lift Every Voice and Sing’ and that iconic anthem of the civil rights movement, `We Shall Overcome.’

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Recent grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and Staten Island, New York, have sparked a national focus on police-community relations. At issue is a number of cases in which unarmed black men have been killed during encounters with white police officers. Rhode Island hasn’t seen this much concern about police-community relations since a black police officer was killed in a friendly-fire incident almost 15 years ago. So how much things have changed?

A spokeswoman for Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare has confirmed that two men who collected mail ballots for mayoral candidate Buddy Cianci at the Crossroads homeless shelter last week were off-duty city police officers.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Buddy Cianci and Jorge Elorza each claimed on Friday that they'd do a better job in reducing crime and improving public safety in Providence.

RIPR FILE

Final musings Sunday a.m. before church and the Patriots opener.  Pats provide welcome respite to politics as the hours dwindle until Tuesday.

The biggest question in the Democratic gubernatorial primary is whether Clay Pell is incurring some last-minute cuts. His debate performances in the final week were underwhelming. And the revelation that he was a registered Republican when he lived in Arizona isn’t going to help him. Neither will the news that his skating queen wife, Michelle Kwan, was also registered with the GOP when she lived in California.

John Bender / RIPR

Dozens of people were evacuated from buildings on the outskirts of downtown Providence following an underground explosion yesterday.

National grid confirmed that the explosion was caused by pressure built up inside an underground utility vault.

Sarah Longley from was working in the Women and Infants building on Chestnut Street only feet away from the explosion.

Megan Hall

Two people are injured after an underground blast caused manhole covers to fly. Providence fire fighters were responding to a call around 11:00am Monday of a strange odor at 300 Richmond in Providence’s Jewelry District when National Grid said a mix of fire and gases caused eight manhole covers to fly into the air.  

National Grid said there were readings of high levels of carbon monoxide at the location. Providence Police Commissioner Steven Pare said two pedestrians were slightly injured.

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