"I've grown up here; I know every inch of this complex," says the Rhode Island Department of Corrections' Chief Inspector and 29-year veteran staffer Aaron Aldrich, who leaves at the end of this month to take on a new position as Director of Investigations at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. Aldrich was recognized by ACI colleagues and friends during a reception in his honor on Tuesday, April 17th, at the RIDOC.
Corrections Director Ashbel T. Wall II issued a long email to all RIDOC employees on April 6th announcing Aldrich's intentions to retire from state service. In it he wrote, "Aaron's personnel file is replete with testimony to the ability, leadership and work ethic that are among the hallmarks of his approach to his job. He has received letters of appreciation and commendation for key roles played in virtually every type of event that can occur in a correctional environment: riots and disturbances, homicides, suicides, narcotics trafficking, escapes, high-profile releases, crimes, security breaches, and misconduct perpetrated by either inmates or, sadly, sometimes our own staff." As to Aldrich's personality traits, Director Wall wrote, "He is a pillar of integrity, rock-solid in his values and possessed of an unwavering ethical compass."
In addition to the Director, also sharing remarks about Aaron during the reception was Major David P. Tikoian of the Rhode Island State Police, with whom Inspector Aldrich worked very closely throughout his long career in corrections. Representing RISP Superintendent Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, a close friend and classmate from the RIDOC's Training Academy, Major Tikoian presented Aldrich with a Certificate of Appreciation from the organization, noting how helpful he has been to their agency over the years.
Aldrich joined the RIDOC in 1983 as a line Correctional Officer, working at the High Security Center until 1991. In that year, he was tapped to join the inaugural team of investigators when the Special Investigations Unit was created. Fifteen months later, he was promoted to the Chief of SIU. His success in that position led to his appointment as an Inspector in 1994. Two years after that, he became Chief Inspector, a title he held for over 15 years.
Aldrich, a native of Glocester and graduate of Ponaganset High School, and his wife, Ellie, live in North Scituate on a farm. He refers to his RIDOC position as "not a job, but a 24/7 way of life," one that has "left my family short on many occasions." Rather than retire and devote his full attention to the farming life, however, Aldrich has opted to accept the position at Wyatt, where he will be doing similar work on a smaller scale.