PROVIDENCE, RI – Today Mayor Jorge
O. Elorza signed the Providence Community-Police Relations Act into law and
released the following statement:
The Providence Community-Police
Relations Act is a product of the hard work of the Administration, the City
Council, Public Safety officials, and most importantly, community members and
advocates. This legislation was drafted by the community, for the community and
through its evolution, has highlighted a change in the national dialogue. After
years of diligent and thoughtful compromise, I am glad to be able to sign this
legislation into law.
This ordinance is the most
comprehensive community-police relations law in the country and is a national
model for community policing. With so much tension in the air in cities
throughout the country, Providence is being proactive in collecting data and in
adopting policies promoting transparency, accountability and strong community
relations. I am signing this ordinance into law because it will help make us a
better police department and it is an important component of our progressive
approach to policing.
In Providence, we are fortunate to
be served by a department that has been, and always will be, an innovator in
urban policing. Just this year, the Providence Police Department created a
Community Relations Bureau, under the leadership of Major Oscar Perez. By
building meaningful relationships with the community, our police department is
transforming what it means to be a police officer. In addition, we anticipate
soon becoming the first major city in New England to deploy body worn cameras
department-wide and we will soon graduate the most diverse police academy (by
far) in the city’s history.
I want to acknowledge that there
has never been a more difficult time to be a police officer as this is a time
of great volatility and change for the profession. But in spite of all of the
challenges, our police department has stepped up and has done exceptional work.
Their commitment to progressive policing led to 2016 having the lowest number
of homicides in 30 years, a 30% decline in the number of shootings, and for the
first time in anyone’s memory, there was not a single gang-related homicide in
the entire city. I want to thank all members of the Providence Police
Department, both civilian and sworn personnel, for their continued dedication,
service, and commitment to the city.
While I am proud to sign this
legislation today and to join the residents, councilmembers and community
members who have been a part of the process, I look forward to our work ahead.
While this is an important step, I know that high-quality, community policing
is not achieved through legislation alone but through continued commitment of
every member of the team. I know that our work is never done and we will to
continue to engage stakeholders, the community, educators and our public safety
officials, to improve our community police relations in every neighborhood in