providence police

Massive federal cuts hit Providence Police Department

July 31st, 2013 at 5:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The federal government slashed its aid to the Providence Police Department by 92% over the last two years, from $2.9 million to $243,000, a massive cut that has forced officials to scale back on overtime pay and funding for specialty units.

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Sweeping drug sting part of Taveras plan to transform Kennedy Plaza

July 26th, 2013 at 2:25 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The sweeping undercover drug sting in Providence’s Kennedy Plaza that led to the arrests of 21 people was part of a Mayor Angel Taveras-backed plan to revitalize a downtown where open air dealing has become far too common, officials said Thursday.

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Moody’s: Providence retiree deal is ‘achievement,’ ‘precedent’

December 20th, 2012 at 12:06 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras got an early Christmas present on Thursday from Moody’s Investors Service.

In a research note, Moody’s analyst Tom Compton praised the tentative settlement on pensions and retiree health benefits that Taveras has negotiated with the city’s unions and retired workers. The police and fire unions, as well as the two department’s retirees, have all voted to approve the deal.

“The changes offer significant relief to the highly leveraged and fiscally stressed city,” Compton wrote. It will reduce the fixed costs – pensions, retiree health benefits and debt service – that made up about 22% of Providence’s operating-fund spending in 2011-12.

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Providence police union will vote Thursday on pension deal

December 11th, 2012 at 3:13 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Providence’s landmark pension settlement is nearing the homestretch.

The 428 active members of the Providence Fraternal Order of Police will vote Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. by secret ballot on whether to approve the deal negotiated with Mayor Angel Taveras to shore up the capital city’s underfunded retirement system, union president Taft Manzotti told WPRI 12′s Tim White.

Manzotti said he has “no idea” how the vote will go, although the union provided information and held meetings to help explain the deal. “It all comes down to the perception of the city of Providence,” he told White. “Does this membership believe the city is going to honor their word? That’s what it all comes down to with us. We have tried to make sure everything is accurate and proper.”

Manzotti said he expects to know the outcome of the vote by 7:45 p.m. The other stakeholders in the pension deal – Local 1033, the firefighters union and the retirees – have already accepted it. Taveras said on “Newsmakers” last week he is hopeful the settlement will be approved.

The Providence pension deal has become a hot topic at the state level as Gov. Lincoln Chafee and Treasurer Gina Raimondo argue over whether they should follow the mayor’s lead and try to settle union lawsuits challenging the state pension law; Raimondo and Taveras are potential rivals for the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

After the jump, two charts on the nuts-and-bolts of the settlement and the next steps.

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Off-duty officer injured in possible case of mistaken identity

September 25th, 2012 at 1:50 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State and Providence police are investigating whether several of their own officers injured an off-duty Providence patrolman during a fight in a possible case of mistaken identity.

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Providence police sergeant suspended with pay for sleeping

July 23rd, 2012 at 11:47 am by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Providence police sergeant has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that he fell asleep on a detail and got into an altercation with a state worker, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

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Providence retirees file ‘friendly lawsuit’ to OK pensions deal

July 16th, 2012 at 5:37 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence’s retired police officers and firefighters filed suit against the city Thursday over their pensions – and Mayor Angel Taveras is elated.

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16 pensions awarded on 6% COLAs’ last day; repeat docs used

May 21st, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The head of public safety in Providence says the city’s investigation into accidental disability pensions awarded in the early 1990s has revealed there were repeat doctors who would routinely sign off on injuries sustained on the job, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Read the rest of this story »

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of the headline on this post incorrectly said a single doctor awarded 16 accidental disability pensions with 6% COLAs on the last day they were available.


Police union blasts ‘underhanded, despicable’ Taveras, Council

May 7th, 2012 at 5:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Providence police union is threatening all-out war on Mayor Angel Taveras and the City Council for freezing retired officers’ pensions, labeling the elected officials “underhanded, despicable and heartless” for holding a crucial vote the night of a fallen officer’s wake.

“Their actions that night and the following Monday showed what we mean to them …………ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, JUST A NUMBER!!!!” the executive board of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 wrote members last week in an email obtained by WPRI.com. “The old saying ‘action speaks louder than words’ is so true, and their actions came through loud and clear and it sounded a lot like SCREW YOU!!!”

The City Council voted unanimously to approve the sweeping pension overhaul on April 26, the night before Sgt. Maxwell Dorley’s funeral. ”The audacity of the Mayor and City Council to do such a thing on the night that we waked one of our own, who died in the line of duty for this City is underhanded, despicable and heartless, and a slap in the face to all of us,” the police email said.

In a statement on Friday, Taveras told WPRI.com it had been “a very significant and emotional week for all who work in the city of Providence. Those who serve our city know better than most the history that led Providence into this crisis.” (more…)


Iannazzi criticizes intransigent Providence police, fire retirees

May 2nd, 2012 at 5:52 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

Iannazzi, right, with Taveras

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The leader of Providence’s largest union leveled his toughest criticism yet at the city’s police and fire retirees this week, saying their alleged intransigence killed a potential deal with Mayor Angel Taveras to stabilize the troubled pension system and suggesting they do not understand the gravity of the situation.

“Some individuals, acting in a manner that I characterize as irresponsible, have suggested that no changes to the retirement system can occur and that we stand back and let the inevitable (city insolvency) occur,” Donald Iannazzi, Local 1033′s business manager, wrote Tuesday in a letter to his members. “Local 1033 has never acted irresponsibly and will not start today.”

Iannazzi confirmed the letter’s authenticity after WPRI.com obtained a copy. It says Local 1033′s negotiating team “agreed in principal to a tentative agreement” that would have suspended cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retirees receiving less than $40,000 in exchange for no changes to medical benefits. The union’s agreement was contingent on police and fire retirees signing on, he said.

“Response from too many retirees receiving 5% and 6% compounded COLAs was that they would rather fight to the end, even if the end caused a failure in the retirement system and in the city,” Iannazzi said.

Joseph Penza Jr., the attorney representing the Providence Retired Police and Firefighters Association in negotiations with the city, disputed Iannazzi. “I have no idea where he got that information from, absolutely none,” Penza told WPRI.com. “I don’t know who he’s quoting. We’ve been negotiating with the city. … That mantra, if you will, does not come from us.”

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Providence begins pension-cut talks with police, fire retirees

March 26th, 2012 at 6:28 pm by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

By Ted Nesi

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The Taveras administration has begun discussing possible solutions to the city’s pension problems with retired police officers and firefighters, but it’s unclear what will happen next with retirees from Local 1033, Providence’s largest municipal union.

At a high-profile town meeting with retirees on March 3, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras asked them to form committees that could negotiate cuts in pension benefits with the city. He asked them to appoint the committees by March 25, which was Sunday, in order to have a deal in place by May 1.

Asked on Monday for a status update, Taveras spokesman David Ortiz told WPRI.com the administration “has already begun conversations” with the Providence Retired Police and Firefighters Association, which represents some but not all former public-safety personnel.

(more…)


Providence police union blasts Chafee municipal-relief package

March 19th, 2012 at 9:48 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site

The capital city’s police union is rallying its members in opposition to the far-reaching overhaul of municipal budgeting rules proposed last week by Governor Chafee with the support of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras and other local leaders.

The bill “puts us at even greater jeopardy of losing our hard fought benefits,” Taft Manzotti, president of the Providence Fraternal Order of Police, wrote his members Thursday. “While this proposal flies in the face of well established principles of contract law, it is being cheered on by mayors and municipal leaders across the state.”

“City and town leaders are clearly not backing down in their unscrupulous effort to rob us of what is rightfully ours, and we cannot remain silent while they do so,” Manzotti said.

The package of seven bills unveiled by Chafee last week proposes a host of changes such as relaxing collective bargaining rules and suspending expired police and fire contracts; capping pension benefits and making some tax-free accidental disability pensions less generous; and reducing health insurance benefits.

Manzotti asked his members to call their representatives and senators “and tell them to vote ‘NO’ to Governor Chafee’s package of bills. We must make sure that the voices of Providence FOP #3 are heard as loudly and as clearly as those officials that support this legislation. The future welfare of this Membership depends on it.”

Tim White contributed to this report.

• Related: Chafee channels Carcieri as lawmakers face cuts fallout again (March 16)


Watch ‘Newsmakers’ with Col. Hugh Clements, Lorne Adrain

January 15th, 2012 at 6:00 am by under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site


Hugh Clements sworn in as Providence’s new police chief

January 9th, 2012 at 9:11 am by under Nesi's Notes

Read all about it.


Providence Police to replace those expired bulletproof vests

November 7th, 2011 at 12:25 pm by under Nesi's Notes

If you’ll pardon some horn-tooting on behalf of a colleague, I’d like to point out that Tim White was first to report back in September that the Providence Police Department was using expired bulletproof vests; today’s Projo reports the city is going to replace them. Here’s Tim’s original report:


PD turmoil leaves Providence with expired bulletproof vests

September 1st, 2011 at 5:56 pm by under Nesi's Notes

By Tim White

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – More than 250 bulletproof vests worn by police officers in Providence have technically “expired” and another 65 will follow suit next month, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

Officials with the Providence Police Department said while the vests are still considered effective, they need to be replaced immediately.

“They lose effectiveness and full capabilities around that date,” said Providence Police Commander Hugh Clements, acting police chief.

Read the full article here.


Providence hands Esserman $167K as he walks out the door

June 30th, 2011 at 5:33 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Now that’s what I call a fond farewell.

Outgoing Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman, whose last day is today, will receive about $167,800 from the city as he departs, WPRI’s Tim White has confirmed – $36,800 for unused sick and vacation days, and a $131,000 refund for pension contributions (including interest).

Unlike newly retired Fire Chief George Farrell, Esserman is exempt from the Taveras administration’s new policy of not paying for unused sick days because he had an employment contract with the city.

Tim’s full story is up now on WPRI.com.


Esserman named Alum of the Month by NYU School of Law

June 16th, 2011 at 10:40 am by under Nesi's Notes

Timing is everything.

New York University School of Law has named Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman (Class of 1983) as its Alumnus of the Month for June – coinciding with this week’s contretemps over his handling of underage drinking at his home last Friday.

The profile that accompanies Esserman’s selection discusses how his doctor dad’s belief in social justice inspired his son to pursue a career in law enforcement. Here’s the section on his time in Rhode Island:

But in late 2002, the new mayor of Providence [David Cicilline] called. The police department, the mayor said, was riddled with corruption and he wanted Mr. Esserman to clean it up as the new chief.

For Mr. Esserman, the offer was an opportunity to apply the methods he had developed in Stamford to a larger and more urban environment. So he moved up to Providence in early 2003 and was soon joined by his wife — now a school administrator — and three children.

Mr. Esserman has once again overseen a drop in crime through the creation of several neighborhood-based police substations, where officers serve extended terms that can last several years. Mr. Esserman says such intimate policing can be personally taxing. He makes it his policy to visit all shooting victims in the hospital. He recently called on a 19-year-old girl who had been shot by her boyfriend. These visits fuel a sense of moral outrage in him about violent crime that he says is a necessary ingredient to fomenting real change.

“My father was a doctor who helped people,” says Mr. Esserman, “and I have come to realize I can pursue his goals of social justice through policing.”

The full Alumnus of the Month profile of Esserman is here. No word on whether there’ll be a party to celebrate.

(photo: New York University)


Much ado about nothing? Holder never planned PPD visit

May 27th, 2011 at 11:38 am by under Nesi's Notes

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was never planning to stop in at the Providence Police Department during his visit to Rhode Island next week, according to his top spokesman, contradicting suggestions Holder had backed out of doing so because of this week’s police layoffs.

“The attorney general never had any plans to visit the [Providence] Police Department,” Holder spokesman Matthew Miller told WPRI.com in an e-mail Friday. “He is doing two events: one with a veterans court, and one on youth violence.”

“These were the two events we had always planned to do,” Miller added.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré told WPRI on Thursday there had been “very, very tentative” plans for Holder to attend a luncheon at the Public Safety Complex in Providence next week.

Holder is coming to Rhode Island at the invitation of U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. A spokesman for the senator declined to comment on the visit, instead directing questions to Miller.

The schedule for the attorney general’s trip is expected to be released Friday.


‘That’s where the money is’ – why Taveras may lay off cops

May 25th, 2011 at 11:13 am by under Nesi's Notes

When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton is said to have replied: “That’s where the money is.”

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras would likely offer the same explanation if asked why he’s seeking such big reductions in the police, fire and school department budgets to balance next year’s budget.

With Taveras expected to announce deep cuts in Providence’s police force at a 1 p.m. news conference today, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at how the capital city allocated its $638.5 million budget this year. This comes from the revised February budget; take a look:

So out of a $638.5 million appropriation, Providence spends $308 million on schools, $69 million on police, $63 million on debt payments and $63 million on fire. The remaining $136 million covers everything else – the mayor’s office, parks, libraries, building inspections, public works, retiree health care, and so on.

Taveras’ 2011-12 budget proposal would cut total spending from this year’s level by $21.8 million, or 3.4%, for a total appropriation of $616.7 million, according to a briefing document his office released May 2. The City Council is set to hold hearings on the budget next month, with final passage expected by July 7.

(P.S. Apparently Sutton never actually uttered his famous quotation.)

Update: Make that will lay off cops.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré sent a letter to members of the Providence Police Department today informing them that layoff notices will be delivered within the next week. “This fiscal crisis does not diminish the gratitude we feel for the work you do,” he wrote. “I deeply regret that we could not achieve the savings we needed from the police department in another way.”


Taveras administration may lay off 80 cops in Providence

May 24th, 2011 at 5:20 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Tim White and I have the story on WPRI.com.


Providence launches probe after Target 12 pension story

May 3rd, 2011 at 4:30 pm by under Nesi's Notes

Tim White and I have the news on WPRI.com:

The Providence Police Department is launching a criminal probe in response to a Target 12 investigation that revealed a retired firefighter who collects a tax-free disability pension is also a dedicated weightlifter.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said Tuesday he’s directed Police Col. Dean Esserman to have his detectives find out whether criminal charges should be filed against John Sauro, 48, of Cranston, who retired in October 2000 with an accidental disability pension because of an injured right shoulder.

“We’re just beginning a criminal investigation,” Pare said. “If there is probable cause that a crime was committed, we’ll prosecute.” The potential charges could include obtaining money under false pretenses, he said.

Sauro isn’t the only retiree in the commissioner’s sights. Pare said he has identified up to 100 other disability pensions awarded to fire personnel that he wants examined. They were awarded in the early 1990s, when eight out of 10 fire retirees were awarded a tax-free pension for an on-the-job injury, he said.

Read the whole story here. For more on “Feel the Burn,” check out my post from last Thursday, when it aired.

In other news, Bob Watson was just ousted by the House Republican Caucus as minority leader in the wake of his DUI arrest. Rep. Brian Newberry is the new minority leader, and Rep. Joe Trillo is the new whip, my colleague Alex DiPrato reports from the Statehouse. WRNI’s Scott MacKay totally called it yesterday.