PAWTUCKET- Today, Mayor Donald R. Grebien
announced the appointment of Colonel James Vartanian as Public Safety Director
to oversee emergency management, fire and police operations on a full time
The Colonel has served as the Director of
Operations for the Rhode Island National Guard for the past three years. Over
his thirty-eight-year career, he has served in command and leadership positions
at home and oversees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Southwest Asia. He led various
types of operations which called on him to develop a cohesive team, problem
solve, and innovate under extreme pressures. Colonel Vartanian served as Chief
of Staff during Operation Iraq Freedom and as Operational Commander who led
various missions during Operation Enduring Freedom.
"Our community came together last year
and made public safety a top priority," said Mayor Grebien. "We have
increased our efforts to combat illegal activities and tackle our aging facilities.
It's time to make even more progress. Colonel Vartanian brings a wealth of
knowledge and experiences to address the future needs of this great city."
The search for a full time director began in
January with the formation of a search committee of public safety professionals
and members of the community. They gathered input from the community and
interviewed candidates to refer to the Mayor.
"Pawtucket will be well served by Colonel
Vartanian," said Steven O'Donnell, search committee chair and former
Colonel of the RI State Police. "He has experience working with various
state and federal agencies during emergencies in Rhode Island, and brings a
global perspective from his service abroad. I want to thank the committee
members for dedicating their time and efforts."
The Public Safety Director will address
growing needs across the three departments working as a cohesive unit to
increase efficiencies. With increasing day-to-day challenges placed upon fire,
police, and emergency management, the director will focus on long-term
priorities, including updating systems, addressing aging facility needs, and
building relationships with the community.