Providence City Councilman David Salvatore, Ward 14 will introduce two resolutions at Thursday’s City Council meeting to address the ongoing complaints from residents about the behavior and actions of college students living off-campus in Providences’ neighborhoods.
The first resolution is to request that the General Assembly increase the penalties for assaulting a police officer, and to clarify the meaning of “dangerous weapon” to include glass bottles. The second is a resolution that will establish a Special Committee on Off-Campus Housing, Safety and Security.
“Since the beginning of the fall semester there have been at least five different incidents involving college students throwing glass bottles at police officers,” stated Councilman David Salvatore, Ward 14. “These brazen attacks show a total disregard for the men and women of the Providence Police Department who work diligently to keep the people of Providence safe. The City Council has a moral obligation to do all in its power to protect its police officers and city residents, and it’s my hope that these resolutions will help in achieving those goals.”
Councilman Salvatore’s resolution(s) will request that the General Assembly enact laws increasing the penalty for assaulting an officer and establishing that a thrown glass bottle constitutes a “dangerous weapon” under the State’s felony assault statute. Currently when assault or batter is committed with a “dangerous weapon,” it rises to the level of felony assault, but the law is ambiguous as to whether a thrown glass bottle qualifies as a “dangerous weapon.” Assault on a police officer engaged in the performance of their duty is already a felony, but the penalties are far less severe than the penalties associated with assault or battery with a “dangerous weapon.” These requested enhanced penalties are necessary to reflect the serious nature of these crimes and to deter future assaults on officers.
The establishment of the Special Committee on Off-Campus Housing, Safety and Security will study, review, and make recommendations regarding the laws, policies, and procedures relating to off-campus student housing, as well as maintain order and ensuring safety in Providence neighborhoods. The committee will be composed of Councilman Salvatore as chair, Councilman Terrence Hassett, Ward 12 as vice-chair, and Councilwoman Nirva LaFortune, Ward 3. The committee will issue a report with findings and recommendations to the full City Council by May 1, 2018.