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Rhode Island State Police Conclude Investigation of Allegations of Improprieties and Irregularities Associated with the East Providence Police Department

Point of Contact for this Press Release: Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Winquist, Deputy Superintendent/Chief of Field Operations (401) 444-1002

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, announces that the Rhode Island State Police has concluded an investigation of allegations of improprieties and irregularities associated with the East Providence Police Department.

On April 15, 2013, East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares was placed on administrative leave by the city manager and human resource director. In late May 2013, the East Providence Budget Commission passed a resolution reinstating East Providence Police Chief Joseph Tavares and requested that a State Police investigation be conducted to determine if any criminal statutes had been violated when the chief was placed on administrative leave.

The East Providence City Charter prohibits members of the City Council from interfering with the city manager regarding appointments and removals of employees serving the city in an administrative capacity. The city manager is solely responsible for this duty and shall not be directed or requested by members of the city council in regards to the appointment or removal of administrative personnel including the police chief. Allegations had been received by the East Providence Budget Commission that certain members of the East Providence City Council had unlawfully influenced the City Manager to place Chief Tavares on administrative leave so that the City Manager could retain his position by obtaining a new contract. The East Providence City Manager serves at the pleasure of the City Council.

Over the past several weeks, several individuals were interviewed pertaining to the aforementioned allegations. These interviews failed to reveal sufficient facts to meet the probable cause standard required to bring forth a criminal charge. Councilwoman Chrissy Rossi and Councilmen Thomas Rose Jr. exercised their right to counsel and did not fully cooperate with the investigation.

The East Providence Budget Commission also requested the investigation of allegations of an improperly administered promotional exam, as well as other internal matters. These issues were determined to be administrative in nature and referred back to the Chief Tavares for review by his professional standards unit.

The Rhode Island State Police has reported the findings of the investigation to the East Providence Budget Commission.

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell stated, "Our investigation was conducted professionally and efficiently with the full understanding of how these matters effect a law enforcement agency. It would have been helpful if all parties involved cooperated to bring all of the facts to light."

Related links

Department or agency: Rhode Island State Police

Online: http://www.risp.ri.gov

Release date: 07-11-2013

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