Esserman Resigns: City Reacts
Thursday, June 23, 2011
The latest flap was over an underage drinking party at his home, first reported by GoLocalProv. After the report, Esserman made the rounds of media interviews, defending his actions in the incident and giving every indication that he wasn’t about to go anywhere—even as the Public Safety Commissioner said he was conducting an investigation of his own.
The news that Esserman was leaving after all came as a surprise even to Councilman Michael Correia, who twice in recent weeks called on Esserman to step down for separate reasons. “The sudden about-face where he submits the resignation was a shock to me,” Correia said.
“I think it was long overdue,” he added.
In the end, Correia said the controversy over the graduation party was simply too much of a distraction for the city at a critical time, as it weighs layoffs and major budget cuts in the Police Department. “Commissioner [Steven] Pare and the administration have enough to deal with in these negotiations and then to have to deal with accusations of misconduct of the chief...” he said.
The resignation came after a chain of controversies surrounding Esserman. Earlier this year, Esserman was suspended for a day after he shouted at a subordinate officer at a public event. Plans for mass layoffs in the department and the city’s fiscal crisis also put pressure on the chief to leave, said Councilman Miguel Luna. (Click here to view a timeline of events and GoLocalProv news reports.)
“I think he has been one of the best police chiefs that we have had,” Luna said. “The other police chiefs have been very ignorant and abusive to the community.” He credited the chief with building a good relationship with the neighborhoods in his ward.
Cicilline: Esserman deserves ‘tremendous credit’ for reform
Yesterday, the man who hired him and once described him as “the best police chief in America”—Congressman and former Mayor David Cicilline—praised Esserman for cleaning up a department that was riddled by corruption and rocked by a promotions test cheating scandal when he took over at the helm in 2003.
“Chief Esserman took the leadership of the Providence Police Department at a time when the Department was under two separate federal investigations—one by the Justice Department for patterns and practice violations and another by the Office of the Inspector General for misappropriation of federal funds. In addition, relationships between the community and the department were fractured, evidence of corruption in hiring and promotions within the department existed, and crime was on the rise.”
Eight years later, Cicilline said the Police Department has become a national model, has won many national awards for community policing, and secured millions in federal funds. He credited Esserman with reducing the crime rate to the “lowest the city has experienced in 30 years.”
Pare and Mayor Angel Taveras also issued statements to the media yesterday praising Esserman. Taveras said Esserman had “rebuilt the public trust and significantly improved policing practice.” Pare also commended Esserman for the important progress made during his tenure.
Even Correia, who has been among the chief’s harshest critics, offered a more mixed review of his overall tenure. “He’s done a lot of good and he’s done a lot of bad,” Correia said. “The bad stuff he brought on himself. I always told him, ‘You’re your own worst enemy.'”
Search for a new chief
It’s not yet clear how the city will proceed to find a new chief, but council leaders said they were optimistic about the prospects for new leadership.
“The Council will work with Commissioner Pare and Mayor Taveras to ensure public safety in our neighborhoods is maintained during this period of transition,” said Council President Michael Solomon. “We are confident in the Commissioner’s leadership ability, and know he will provide strong direction for the department, and that our police officers will continue their work to improve safety and quality of life for Providence residents.”
Terry Hassett, the president pro tempore of the council, also said he was looking forward to the promise of having a new leader take charge of the department.
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- A LIVELY EXPERIMENT June 16, 2011 Part 6: Esserman Reaction
- BREAKING NEWS: City ‘Evaluating’ Weekend Incident at Esserman Home
- BREAKING NEWS: Councilman Demands Esserman Resign—Again
- BREAKING NEWS: Esserman Resigns
- BREAKING: Esserman Responds
- Cianci, Cicilline, Esserman Pensions Targeted
- Dean Esserman and GoLocalProv – A Timeline
- EXCLUSIVE: New Accusations of Misbehavior Against Esserman
- Esserman Controversy - Providence Residents Speak Out
- Esserman Fallout: Providence Council Reacts
- Esserman Is No Longer Viable in Providence
- Exclusive: Underage Drinkers at Chief Esserman’s Home
- Is Esserman Worth Over $200,000 a Year?
- Is Time Running out for Esserman?
- NEW: Commissioner Pare Releases Statement on Esserman
- NEW: Esserman Gets National Recognition for Community Policing
- Outrage over ‘Second Pension’ for Esserman
- UPDATED: Police Union Condemns Esserman
- UPDATED: Taveras Keeps Esserman
- Your Turn: Should Esserman Step Down?
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