This weekend my family and I were the targets of acts of intimidation and violence demanding that I defund and abolish the Providence Police Department.
This individual(s) graffitied my property and also spiked the tires of both my son’s and my car. While the graffiti can be washed away, the spikes embedded in our tires could’ve caused serious bodily harm, or even worse.
This was not a political statement adherent to the spirit of our first amendment. This was an act of intimidation and censure by threat.
As an elected official who has served this city for many years, ideological differences and spirited debates regarding our future are not new.
Yet, engaging in this type of behavior that is meant to cause fear of bodily injury or of life is not something that I will ever condone.
Instead, I will continue to work with the community and my colleagues to find solutions to the problems and concerns that have been expressed through testimony and discussion at the Committee on Finance meetings.
Over the past few weeks, I have called on the members of the General Assembly to repeal the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (which would give more power to our Chief of Police to fire officers who would use their position to do harm instead of good). I have been working with my colleagues to create a social service crisis intervention unit within our City. This type of program would create a network of social service responders where individuals in crisis can get the help that they need without the use of an armed police response. This measure would also keep our police force in the neighborhoods so that they can do the job they were tasked to do – protect us. I have had national leaders in community policing attend our Committee on Finance meetings to share best practices. We have heard from CAHOOTS based in Eugene, Oregon, along with representatives from the STAR program based in Denver, Colorado. The Committee will continue to investigate these best practices so that we can launch a similar program here in Providence that meets the unique needs of our City.
I know the vandals that committed these acts are not representative of the community who has come before the City Council and asked for reform from the police department. I will continue to listen and learn from these and other members of our community, and work to help initiate positive reforms that will continue to make the Providence Police Department the best department in the nation.
John J. Igliozzi, Esq., Majority Whip
Chairman of the Committee on Finance
Providence City Council
Councilman – Ward 7