Mayor widens committee selecting new R.I. police chief

By Amanda Milkovits
The Providence Journal-Bulletin
March 26, 2001

(Providence, RI) - Two more people are being appointed to the selection committee for a new Providence police chief.

Katherine Monteiro, the president of the Rhode Island Alliance for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, was appointed Thursday, at the request of W. Fitzgerald Himmelsbach, the mayor's liaison with the gay and lesbian community.

Mayor Vincent A. Cianci Jr. also said he'll add a representative from the Blue Ribbon Commission that's involved with recommending changes to the Police Department. The commission's chairman, Beverly J. Wiley, said she wrote to the mayor Thursday asking for a member to be included on the selection committee.

Those two new appointees will bring the committee size to 19. It already includes law-enforcement officials, scholars, activists and politicians, both local and statewide. The committee is cochaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Weisberger and retired Superior Court Justice Anthony A. Giannini.

It's a big committee, but "it's a heavy responsibility," Cianci said Friday. Police Chief Richard T. Sullivan was sworn in temporarily when former Chief Urbano Prignano Jr. retired on Feb. 1. Sullivan will remain the chief as the committee searches for a candidate to fill the job permanently. Sullivan has also said he intends to apply for the permanent position.

After he announced the appointments of 17 selection committee members last Monday, Cianci said he was asked by Himmelsbach to include someone from the gay and lesbian community.

Cianci agreed and appointed Monteiro on Thursday.

"In our commitment to furthering an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust and safety among members of our Providence Police Department, Kate's input and involvement is essential," Cianci said in a statement.

Monteiro said Friday that she wants a police chief who will observe the best practices in other police departments across the nation and bring them to Providence.

"I think the city needs a police chief who is ready and willing to deal with the broad diversity of the city's residential and visitor base," Monteiro said.

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