Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Rhode Island Department of Public Safety, today provided an overview of the agency's work in the past year, including enhanced partnerships with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and community stakeholders. She also released the results of a focused assessment of the agency and provided an update on the recruitment campaign for the 2018 Training Academy.
Colonel Assumpico noted that when she was sworn in one year ago today, her priorities were to:
• Ensure that the men and women of the Rhode Island State Police are prepared and protected for today's challenges and those of the future;
• Increase diversity throughout our ranks to more accurately reflect the rich ethnic, cultural communities we serve; and
• Enhance our relationships with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and community partners to better serve all Rhode Islanders.
"I am pleased to report that we have made tremendous progress in each of these areas," Colonel Assumpico said during a briefing attended by several federal, state and local law enforcement officials and community partners.
Soon after being appointed, Colonel Assumpico called for an independent, outside assessment of the agency, focused on the areas of recruitment, promotion and administrative procedures. She said the goal was to recruit, train and retain a more diverse group of troopers at every level.
The results of that assessment have been posted on the Rhode Island State Police website: http://risp.ri.gov/assessment/
Colonel Assumpico said the assessment reaffirms that the Rhode Island State Police is an exemplary agency, committed to providing high levels of service and protection to the state. However, it also identifies several areas for improvement.
Among the recommendations:
• Expand recruitment efforts, providing detailed information about the testing and requirements and offering support to help candidates better prepare;
• Create a more objective and transparent promotional process; and • Improve the tracking and handling of complaints and disciplinary matters to provide a more standardized procedure to address these issues.
Colonel Assumpico said many of the recommendations have already been implemented, especially those for the upcoming 2018 Training Academy. The assessment team worked closely with the Training Academy staff to improve recruitment, preparation, and testing of applicants with a goal of attracting a larger, more diverse group of candidates. She announced that at least 44 percent of the 1,403 people who applied to the 2018 Recruit Training Academy are women and/or members of minority groups. (Applicants are not required to identify race and/or gender; of those who did, 489 were minorities and 230 were women, including 98 minorities.)
Colonel Assumpico further noted that nearly one-third (10 of 36) of the promotions she has made since becoming Superintendent have been women and/or members of minority groups, including two members of her Command Staff, furthering her goal to increase diversity in all ranks of the State Police. Colonel Assumpico has assigned members of her Command Staff to oversee implementation of recommendations in other areas.
Other highlights from the past year include:
• Purchasing $250,000 in protective equipment and specialized equipment to help better protect all Troopers and Narcan supplies for local police departments
• Enhancing partnerships with federal, state and local agencies to arrest drug dealers responsible for fueling the opioid crisis and others involved in the sexual exploitation of children
• Sharing resources, expertise and specialized equipment with local police departments to assist in the investigations of murders, fatal crashes, active shooters and missing persons
• Working with community partners to improve relationships with our diverse communities
Colonel Assumpico said the State Police also faces several challenges ahead – including addressing the record number of fatal crashes last year and enforcing a new hands-free device law that goes into effect June 1 to reduce distracted driving. She also said the opioid crisis will be a top priority, and she will be seeking creative ways to use the resources of the Rhode Island State Police to assist state and local agencies in a coordinated, multi-faceted approach.
In conclusion, Colonel Assumpico said, "We will continue to serve and protect the people of this state with honor and integrity. … Rhode Islanders can be proud of this exemplary group of men and women, who are carrying on the tradition of excellence and professionalism that has been the hallmark of the Rhode Island State Police for nearly 100 years."