Governor Lincoln D. Chafee announced today that Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) Executive Director J. David Smith will resign effective July 30 to pursue a career in academia. Smith has accepted the position of Director of Criminal Justice Graduate Studies at Salve Regina University in Newport, of which he is an alumnus.
“In his three years at RIEMA, Executive Director Smith has made tremendous strides in making that organization not only ready for any possible scenario, but proactive in terms of emergency preparedness,” said Governor Chafee. “He has demonstrated significant leadership and managerial ability in a difficult, demanding position. During the historic floods last year, he led RIEMA with skill and dedication. All Rhode Islanders owe him gratitude for his service.”
“Director J. David Smith has been instrumental in increasing our state’s capacity with a more comprehensive approach to emergency preparedness and response,” said Lt. Governor Elizabeth H. Roberts, Chair of the Emergency Management Advisory Council. “Under his leadership, EMAC’s Domestic Preparedness Subcommittee has been able to reduce redundancy, enhance the state’s communications through the 800 MHz system, and focus on improved collaboration.”
“This was a tremendously difficult decision for me to make,” said Smith. “This is not a case of me leaving RIEMA, but rather of an exciting and unexpected opportunity that presented itself, one that I simply could not pass up.”
“Over the last three years, we have worked hard to build an exceptional staff and a first rate team of emergency management professionals,” Smith continued. “There is no question that RIEMA has undergone considerable improvement in that time and will continue to evolve and change for the better. I have no doubt that I am leaving the organization in capable hands from top to bottom, and that Rhode Islanders can feel safe and secure knowing the RIEMA is prepared for any unforeseen event.”
“It has been a great privilege to be a part of such a fine team and organization,” Smith concluded. “I want to thank Governor Chafee and his staff for understanding my desire to return to my alma mater, Salve Regina. I am thrilled to work in a classroom environment, where I will have the opportunity to use my homeland security and emergency management perspective to encourage students to pursue careers in law enforcement and public safety, to serve their state and their country.”
“The resignation of David Smith as RIEMA’s Executive Director is a great loss to the agency which he played a significant role in rebuilding,” said Major General Robert T. Bray, the current Adjutant General. “However, he has created a highly functional organization which is postured to move forward owing to his visionary leadership. The citizens of RI owe Dave a debt of gratitude and can be assured RIEMA is ready to handle any emergency.”
“I join Governor Chafee in applauding Executive Director Smith for his performance and thanking him for his service,” said Governor Chafee’s Adjutant General designee Major General Kevin R. McBride, one of whose duties will be overseeing RIEMA. “In my capacity as Director of RIEMA, I will be performing a thorough assessment and evaluation of the organization in the coming weeks to ensure that it is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible and is prepared to meet any event that may occur.”
Prior to joining RIEMA, Smith had served as Chief of Police for Narragansett and Westerly. He also served as Director of Public Safety and Transportation for Roger Williams University. He is a past president of the Police Chiefs Association.
***Since its founding, the primary mission of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) has been to protect life and property in the event of a disaster or crises situation, through a program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Guided by these four principles, RIEMA has made great strides in its effort to improve emergency preparedness in the state of Rhode Island. The Rhode Island EMA remains dedicated to finding additional ways to prepare and protect our citizens in the years ahead.***