Community relationships, guns top priorities for Providence police chief candidates

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The final three candidates for Providence’s police chief shared their visions, goals, and hurdles at a community forum Wednesday.

Acting Chief Oscar Perez, Maj. David Lapatin, and Maj. Kevin Lanni answered questions from the public — prioritizing their relationship with community and removing guns from the streets.

“We need to work with the community itself,” said Lapatin. “We need to get back on the streets to the houses to the people. I think we need to get to a point where one murder is outrageous.”

Perez added, “At the end of the day, we’re public service. It’s about delivering public service. We need everybody on board to make sure we identify those individuals that are committing crimes in our city — that are giving us those big numbers.”

Lanni echoed a similar message, saying, “We need to monitor culture and monitor those other things to make sure they’re aligned with the values of our community.”

A small group of protesters gathered outside the forum calling for police reform amidst continued controversy over the police-involved death of Tyre Nichols.

Mayor Brett Smiley acknowledged the concern from city residents and added, “That relationship between the community, the ability to communicate in good times and in bad, is integral to the success of a police chief.”

Smiley told ABC 6 News  a decision by the city will be made later this week.

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