Providence Police welcome 49 new officers in 70th Training Academy Graduation Ceremony

The 49 officers consist of 39 men and 10 women. Of those graduates, eight were born outside of the United States, they represent 25 different nationalities, and one even became a legal citizen of the United States while in the academy. 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- After a violent summer and severe staffing shortages, the Providence Police Department held their 70th Training Academy Graduation Ceremony Saturday afternoon.

The 49 academy graduates were sworn in at Bishop McVinney Auditorium after 24-weeks of training.

“To our newest Providence police officers, welcome to the Providence Police Department,” said Chief Hugh Clements. “Today you begin what I know in my heart is the greatest job in the world.”

The 49 officers consist of 39 men and 10 women. Of those graduates, eight were born outside of the United States, they represent 25 different nationalities, and one even became a legal citizen of the United States while in the academy.

One graduate, 24-year-old Officer Rommy Morel, is one of the department’s newest officers looking to make a difference on the streets of Providence.

Over a decade ago, Morel was spotted as a young talent on a Providence baseball field. He quickly hit it off with Commander Thomas Verdi, a coach of one of the baseball teams. Cmmdr. Verdi began to drive him home from practices in his police cruiser, quickly becoming both a mentor and role model.

The Commander described the first day he drove Morel home, calling 13-year-old Morel ‘a child in a candy store,’ staring at all of the buttons in his police cruiser.

“We were on Broad Street, he hits the lights, he hits the sirens, and a car pulls over,” he explained. “His head twists, does a 180….and that was the beginning.”

“Since that day, he has been part of my family.”

An emotional Cmmdr. Verdi told ABC6 he was one of the proud parents in Saturday’s ceremony, calling Morel a son.

“Commander Verdi has been an unbelievable impact on me, to my family, to my life, to my career,” Officer Morel told ABC6 News. “One day, I would like to be like him and help somebody, change their life and help them out. The way he did for my life.”

When asked what he’s most looking forward to once on the job, Officer Morel told ABC6 he’d like to work hand in hand with Commander Verdi.

“The same shift or something…go for a ride in the City of Providence to our favorite place to eat together. Subway.”

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island