Providence City Council calls on mayor to put a hiring freeze on new police officers
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -The Providence City Council passed several non-binding resolutions related to police policies at Thursday night’s meeting.
One of the resolutions passed asks the Commissioner of Public Safety and the Chief of the Providence Police Department to conduct a detailed review of all police training procedures, including the academy training curriculum, as well as the department’s use of force policy, in order to provide a report to the Council outlining concrete steps that the department will take to improve the training and competency of the city’s police department.
In this resolution, the council also requests the mayor place a hiring freeze on any new police officers until the review is completed and approved by the council.
“Tonight, I’m very proud of my council. I’m very, very proud. I’m proud because I no longer have to stand alone,” said Councilwoman Mary Kay Harris, who has been fighting for police reform for years.
Another resolution that passed calls on the city’s Retirement Board to review the existing rules and regulations surrounding police officer pensions and, more specifically, how the city handles pension benefits for officers disciplined for the use of excessive force.
“I think in the case of the officer who killed George Floyd, that individual is eligible and will benefit from a pension,” said Councilman David Salvatore.
Additionally, the council passed a resolution requesting the Fleet Manager work with Colonel Hugh Clements to identify which police vehicles should be converted to confidential plates and to submit a plan to prevent any misuse of take home vehicles, and what course of action will be taken if policy is violated.
The council also voted to urge the General Assembly to impose a duty to intervene, which would require a police officer to step in if they witness an excessive use of force or misconduct.
This resolution will now be sent to members of the Providence Delegation, as well as the Speaker of the House and the Senate President.
The Providence police union issued a statement in response to tonight’s vote:
“Providence FOP Lodge #3 is 100% against any movement or legislation to defund the Providence Police Department… We, the FOP, are deeply concerned that some of our Political leaders don’t realize that some of their calls for reforms are already programs, policies, and partnerships that we have had in place for a long time.”