Tonight, the Providence City Council voted to approve a new position in the police department to help strengthen community relations and public safety in Providence neighborhoods. The budget ordinance which creates the new position also maintains the funding for the position of an additional Police Major which the Council approved in the original FY 2022 budget ordinances adopted in July.
“We are excited to create this new position. The duties and responsibilities will be to coordinate the efforts of the community relations unit and infuse a culture of equity in the department as it shifts back to community policing and diversion services,” stated Council President John J. Igliozzi. “We heard loud and clear from residents and community organizations that the City needs a return to the approach to policing that includes community building and empathy.”
Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5), Chair of the Finance Committee stated, “The Chief of Police provided the Finance Committee with a job description for the new role and a clearly defined scope and charge, which is in line with a civilian (non-sworn police officer) position in the department. We strongly urge the Mayor to publicly post this high profile position, in order to attract the best candidates in an open and fair process.”
The Administrator of Community Relations and Diversion Services salary is $99,517- $125,905 plus health care and benefits.
“We chose to set the Administrator of Community Relations and Diversion Services salary at a substantial level because this is an important job that requires someone with broad and varied experience, with a track record of effective community building and understanding of diversion services,” stated Ryan.
Second passage of the ordinance is scheduled for October 21st.
Providence Finance Committee Approves Creation of New Administrator of Community Relations & Diversion Position Within Police Department
Ordinances clarify that new position is civilian with no law enforcement powers, while retaining new Major position within the Providence Police Department for a qualified law enforcement professional.
This evening, the Providence City Council’s Committee on Finance voted to approve two ordinances creating and funding a new civilian “Administrator of Community Relations and Diversion” position within the Providence Police Department. The ordinance creating the position clearly details the duties of the new administrator position as a civilian within the police department with no law enforcement powers.
“When my colleagues on the City Council learned that a newly created Major position within the Providence Police Department was being filled with a civilian with no previous policing experience, we heard loud and clear from police and community organizations that this would create confusion about roles, while also passing over highly qualified officers within the police department,” said Councilwoman and Finance Chair Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5). “This was not what the Council intended when we included this position in our original FY 2022 budget, and why we have passed this new amended ordinance, sponsored by Council President Igliozzi, which very clearly details that the Administrator of Community Relations & Diversion is a civilian, administrative position within the police department with no law enforcement powers.”
Continued Ryan, “The Council supports the need for this position to better build trust between our police and the diverse communities across our city. By passing these ordinances we will create this new Administrator of Community Relations & Diversion position while also preserving the Major position within the Providence Police Department for a highly qualified law enforcement professional.”
“We all agree on the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Providence Police Department, while also improving community-police relations. This ordinance will do just that by creating a new Administrator of Community Relations & Diversion position within the police department, and explicitly defining this as a civilian role,” said Council President John Igliozzi (Ward 7). “I commend Chairwoman Ryan and my colleagues on the Finance Committee for their work on this ordinance and look forward to its passage by the full City Council in the coming weeks.”
A job description for the new Administrator of Community Relations & Diversion position has been created and can be found here.
The ordinances approved by the Finance Committee will now go to the full City Council for final approval, expected in October.
Providence City Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5) has announced a major road safety project on Mount Pleasant Avenue which will begin next year. The safety improvements come after a multi-year planning effort by Ryan, along with neighbors, local businesses, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and the City of Providence.
“After the tragic death in 2017 of a high school teacher walking across Mount Pleasant Avenue as she left work, I brought my neighbors and other stakeholders together with traffic experts to develop a plan to prevent this kind of horrible accident from happening again. On any given day, Mount Pleasant Avenue is bustling with vehicle and pedestrian traffic from the schools, residences, and small businesses that make their home there. We must ensure that this important neighborhood thoroughfare is safe for everyone,” stated Councilwoman Ryan.
The road safety improvement project will invest approximately $2 million into the installation of numerous features along Mount Pleasant Avenue between Smith Street and Beaufort Street. Some of these improvements include new concrete sidewalks, raised crosswalks, new pavement and striping, traffic signal improvements, school zone flashing beacons, and ADA compliant curb ramps. Based on input from residents and local businesses, the plan does not include a bike lane. The City Council tonight approved the resolution authorizing the City to enter into a construction and maintenance agreement with RIDOT for this project.
“Providence residents should feel safe on the streets where they drive to work and patronize local businesses, and where their children catch the bus or walk to school. I am proud to have facilitated the important conversations between neighbors and the state Department of Transportation that have led to a plan to make Mount Pleasant Avenue a safer and more functional street in our city,” added Councilwoman Ryan.
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation will be releasing the plan and providing details at an upcoming public briefing. Visit their project page at https://bit.ly/3luVN7k to learn more and to sign-up for updates.
The following statement was offered by Providence City Councilman Nicholas Narducci Jr. (Ward 4) regarding the cleanup of a homeless encampment area that has developed under the Route 146 overpass on Branch Avenue.
“Earlier today I participated in the cleanup of an area under and around the Route 146 overpass on Branch Avenue. The area was cleaned up in coordination with the Department of Public Works after many complaints from neighbors about trash and litter. Police were there for traffic safety and did not approach anyone. I also want to make very clear that no homeless who use this space for shelter were displaced and that I am continuing to work to ensure that these individuals have access to social support services.”
This morning, my neighbors and I were shocked to see large amounts of water flowing down our street and into our lawns and driveways. Providence Water crews quickly arrived on the scene and were able to manage the issue. Water was shut off on Dorothy Ave for about three hours, but is now back up and running and the flooding has stopped.
I would like to commend the great work of Anthony Martone of the Providence Water Board, along with foreman Mike Quirk and his crew, who were able to manage this issue quickly and minimize any damage to the street and surrounding personal property.
The City of Providence remains in working order thanks to the many crews that go to work every day to ensure that our water is running, our streets are clean and our lights are on. So, I extend my appreciation to the crew who helped my neighbors and I today, and to all the city employees that make a career out of helping their neighbors.
During the summer months, I have been communicating with residents, City departments and Strive Realty regarding the redevelopment of the property located at 663 Admiral Street. Tonight’s scheduled community meeting at the property has been postponed due to rain, but will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.
This week, I learned that a demolition permit was erroneously issued to the property owners by the City’s Department of Inspections and Standards without receiving all proper documentation from the Rhode Island Department of Health. In order to acquire a demolition permit, developers must submit letters regarding all utilities, a surety bond, lead and asbestos reports, a certificate of liability, and a copy of the developer’s professional license. The developers of 663 Admiral Street were issued a demolition permit without submitting proper asbestos testing documentation from the Rhode Island Department of Health.
Therefore, a stop work order has since been issued to halt the demolition. No further work will take place until the City’s Department of Inspections and Standards receives the proper documentation from the Department of Health confirming that there is no asbestos present at the site of 663 Admiral Street.
I have been in touch with the Department of Health and Department of Environmental Management to confirm that the developer is complying with all regulations. I have also been in touch with the Department of Inspections and Standards to find out when and why this faulty permit was issued.
Additionally, it has come to my attention that the developer has changed the scope of the project and will no longer be seeking a zoning change for the site. This means the project will no longer be under the purview of the City Council. Instead, the City Planning Commission will be reviewing the project, based on regulatory requests made by the developer.
At this time, the matter does not fall under the jurisdiction of the City Council; however, I will remain closely engaged with the project and will continue to keep residents updated as new development plans emerge. The redevelopment of 663 Admiral Street is a keystone in improving the quality of life and public safety on Admiral Street and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The building has fallen into disrepair, becoming a hotspot for crime and dangerous behavior including a homicide last year.
I will continue working with all community stakeholders to ensure that the construction process, the scale and design of the project are all carried out with the utmost regard to the safety and character of Wanskuck and Elmhurst Neighborhoods.
Please follow this link for the Department of Inspection and Standards viewpoint page relating to this property: https://bit.ly/2Xa6UKK.