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Exclusive: Underage Drinkers at Chief Esserman’s Home

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Providence Police Chief Col. Dean Esserman stood on his front lawn and watched underage drinkers—carrying beer cans and cases of beer—leave his East Side home late Friday evening following a graduation party.

Over the course of two hours, GoLocalProv viewed dozens of young people partying on Esserman’s property (which was decorated with balloons on the front lawn) and on the street near the home—a possible violation of the state’s “social host” law.

Shortly after 11:00 pm, young people were watched fleeing the party, some in vehicles and many on foot. At that point, Chief Esserman, dressed in citizen attire, appeared on the front lawn and watched as droves of young people scrambled to jump in cars or walk away from the party.

One group of at least eight males was viewed carrying a case of beer down the street as they talked about what had just occurred. They did not appear to be happy with having to leave the party. Their conversation suggested an argument took place between the boys and the Police Chief.

“I don’t care who he is,” a member of the group was overheard saying. “I know who you are. You’re the Chief of Police.”

Party Was Broken Up: “I think too many people showed up.”

Asked to confirm he had just left Esserman's house, one young person said, “Yeah, we just got kicked out.” The boy refused to elaborate.

When another young person was seen walking down the street around midnight, GoLocalProv asked the boy if he was just leaving the party.

“Yes but it’s over now,” he said. “It got broken up.”

It is unclear why the party was broken up before midnight. The size of the party may have had something to do with it, according to one young person quoted as he left the house.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said. “I think too many people showed up.”

Rhode Island’s Social Host Law

In 2008, Governor Carcieri signed legislation that called for harsher penalties (in some cases, criminal charges) for adults when they knowingly allow underage parties that involve alcohol to take place anywhere on their property.

Under state law, a first-time conviction is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine and/or six months imprisonment. A second conviction increases the fine and a third conviction becomes a felony and could lead to a year in prison.

GoLocalProv did not see a single police officer or police car during the two hours spent monitoring Esserman’s home. No arrests appeared to be made.

MADD Response

Reached early Saturday morning, Gabrielle Abbate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Chapter of MADD, said she wants to look into additional details regarding possible impaired driving incidents before making judgment.

But she said adults should pay extra attention during prom and graduation season.

“This incident is yet another example of EVERY PARENT/ADULT being vulnerable to the challenges of hosting parties which involve underage persons,” she said in an e-mailed statement. “Parties, particularly those associated with celebrating proms and graduations demand extra attention, guidelines, and rules BEFORE the celebration takes place.”

Councilman: Suspend Him Immediately

One of Esserman’s outspoken critics, 6th Ward Councilman Michael Correia, called on Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare to suspend Esserman immediately and launch an investigation.

“If these allegations are true, the Chief should not just be suspended, he should be terminated,” Correia said. “I believe he should be suspended without pay until the allegations are looked into by Commissioner Pare. If they’re true, he should be terminated.

Chief Esserman did not return phone calls Saturday morning.

A spokesperson for the city said the Taveras administration was still looking into the report and would be available for comment later in the day.



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This story has a lot of holes in it...

- How did Golocal learn about this party?
- Golocal actually spent two hours staking out the joint?
- Where are the pics?
- Did Golocal confirm the ages of the kids leaving w/ liquor?
- Did Esserman arrive at the house and throw everyone out or was he inside the whole time?

At this point it's Esserman's word vs. the word of a "news" outlet bent on making waves and taking swipes at Shiney Badge. The jury is still out.

Comment #1 by Edward Smith on 2011 06 11

you could drive a truck through the holes in this story, little disappointed. Normally GOLOCAL does a thorough job of collecting the facts before it lets a story go to print...

Comment #2 by stephanie zhou on 2011 06 11

Typical, people going to extremes on what they perceive as justice. The kids should be punished and disciplined for attending if uninvited and consuming illegally. Once again, it all starts in the home. What is the dynamic of the household, what is tolerated and what is disciplined?

Comment #3 by Frank D'Orsi, Jr. on 2011 06 11

This is an irresponsible slanderous story.

You have uncaptioned and unattributed photos accompanying the story, possibly in violation of copyright law. Were they taken at the Esserman’s property? Are they stock photos? File photos?

“GoLocalProv viewed dozens of young people partying on Esserman’s property (which was decorated with balloons on the front law (sic)) and on the street near the home - a possible violation of state’s “social host” law.”

Can you be more specific about what actions in the above statement are a possible violation of the law?

What should parents who host parties for minors do to keep guests, uninvited as well as invited safe?
. Ban alcohol
. Prevent entry by uninvited or invited guests arriving under the influence
. Demand any uninvited or invited guests who appear to have partaken on or off site to
. And as an added measure try to ascertain if anyone asked to leave may be at risk of
driving intoxicated.

This is what Chief Esserman and his family did.

This is what my dad did almost 40 years ago for me.

This is what I did at my children’s Sweet 16s and cast parties.

This is what responsible adults and parents who host celebrations marking life events do.

What exactly did the Chief do that deserves criticism?

The family planned ahead; as close by neighbors we were courteously notified in advance of the event and last evening the party was in no way out of control. It ended by the time indicated in the notice.

“It was unclear why the party was broken up before midnight.” I guess because the hosts determined this was the responsible course of action.

There were not ‘droves’ of kids. No one ‘scrambled’. You state a group of eight males were unhappy to be leaving the party. Fine. That means our neighbor kept control of the situation and prevented problems by having them leave.

Can teens be loud walking away from a party? Sure. Was it disruptive or excessive? No. Did it last more than 20 minutes? No – and that’s amazing.

We often get more noise from folks driving down our street at all hours with radios blasting, driving at high speeds. Is that news? No. And neither is this party.

Had we hosted the same party on the same evening with the same challenges faced by the Essermans, I hope we would have been as clear headed and responsible with as positive an outcome.

Ms. Gabrielle Abbate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Chapter of MADD is right; “every parent and adult is vulnerable to the challenges of hosting parties which involve underage persons”.

You have also proven how more vulnerable some parents are by choosing to single out this family because the father chose a career of public service. The Essermans are to be commended for the way they hosted their children’s’ party, not condemned. They protected all the children who came to their home, invited or not.

Susan Paffrath

Comment #4 by s paffrath on 2011 06 11

great leadership esserman . and, refused to call ppd . you would be first to criticize
anyone else . not the actions of a law enforcement officer .but, you' ll not be
desciplined and just hang in the backgound until huge pension kicks in .
however, great teaching moment for one of your courses on what not to do.
allow undersge children to drink at your residence, allow children to leave with alcohol and operate vehicles. and not to contact police for fear of publicity as opposed to childrens safety and well being .great job ..... chief ?

Comment #5 by Nick Patriarca on 2011 06 11

the kid who 'wrote" this aka..was forced to put his name forth..is agood guy but now courtesy of Josh & crew will be forever stained and introduced w/the follow up line" watch out for that guy"
JOSH...he deserves a raise not lip service

Comment #6 by Buc Kner on 2011 06 11

@Susan, you get the shiny neighbor award. No one can say Shiny Badge doesn't have the best PR machine ever. But answer this, Susan, how many parties have the Esserman's had at their house in the last year? I hear Shiny daughter has had quite a few. (OK, so a boy I know from the Academy said he was there ONCE a few months ago for a big drinking party.) but whatever. I find it interesting that he had a full blown investigation when his pumpkins were stolen, but didn't think to call his minions when there were kids drinking at his house. I was surprised he had a party at his house. His style is more to barge into a restaurant and make them host the party. Now let's make sure he doesn't expense the party and make the city pay for it.

Comment #7 by Joseph Davis on 2011 06 11

Susan, gofyourself. It's dirty east siders like you and Myrth York that are keeping this dead beat never been a cop dbag in this city. Keep funding the mayor's campaign war chest while you direct him to keep worthless department heads like this one. And Pare is only too much of a puppet scumbag to speak up. Enjoy your taxes going up along with the crime level while this phony and Pare don't even offer up a paycut. Closing on a house in Seekonk next week. Goodbye c-suckersssssssss!!!!!

Comment #8 by Michael Smith on 2011 06 11

East Side rich snotrags and Myrth"Mrs.Doubtfire"York keep this phony in office.
Susan,you sound like a typical East Sider-I'm sure you people get fast response on everything because Shiny Badge lives in the 'hood.
mayyor Taveras and Commissioner Pare need to sh*tcan this piece of garbage now,with no more excuses if this report is accurate.

Comment #9 by joe bernstein on 2011 06 12



Comment #10 by Stephen Moise on 2011 06 12

Mr Moise..well said especially for a guy who is 51 cards SHORT of a full deck

Comment #11 by Buc Kner on 2011 06 12


Comment #12 by Stephen Moise on 2011 06 12



Comment #13 by Stephen Moise on 2011 06 12


The Cicilline/York spin machinists are out in force.

I particularly love the empty, pathetic pleadings of the entity now calling itself "Buc Kner" and formally known as "lOUIS PRIMA."

Note the intensity of their collective response. Their brutal and wholly nonsensical attacks on the messenger tell us that something very sensitive has been exposed here.

Esserman wrangling underage drinkers ... Some habits die hard.

Where was David Cicilline during party time?

Comment #14 by Charles Drago on 2011 06 12

Hey Chief do what any parents would do, call the police.

Comment #15 by jkl the 2nd on 2011 06 12

It took eight young males to carry one case of beer down the street? Even I, at almost 42, can carry a case of beer by myself.

Comment #16 by KATHRYN HOPKINS on 2011 06 12

Keep a civil tongue in your head please people. Everyone has a right to their opinions.

Comment #17 by Joyce Bryant on 2011 06 12

Eight males to carry one case of beer down the street? What has happened to our youth? Why in our day....seriously, where is the President's Council on Youth Fitness? Stuffing more wagyu beef downa pie-hole?

What, we raisin' here? Some kind generation of fatsos?


On the bright side, at least it was beer, and not Chianti & Lestoil, or Campari and bilge cleaner, some other inventive potion.

Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasotawater Key, Florida
12 June, 2011

Comment #18 by paul zecchino on 2011 06 13

Eight teens to carry a case of beer? What does this say about the fitness of today's youth?

Shall we 'do the science'? Let's.

Twelve ounces of beer per can multiplied by twenty four cans per case equals two-hundred eighty-eight ounces of beer.

Sixteen ounces of water weighs one pound. Assume for the sake of argument, beer and water are of similar density and thus weigh the same per unit of volume, OK? Oh-Keh. Si.

Now, if we divide the total ounces per case (288) by the number of ounces of water or beer which comprise one pound (16), our quotient is eighteen pounds of beer per case, yes? Yes. Si.

Quienes mas macho?

Now, if we add a pound or so to the eighteen pounds of beer to account for the weight of the cans and carton, the result is still twenty pounds or less per case, isn't it?

Lastly, with eight kids toting one case, each yout is only lifting two and one-half pounds, right? Right.

Non es macho, si? No. Si. No.

Pathetic? Si.

Paul Vincent Zecchino
Manasota Key, Florida
[email protected]
12 June, 2011

"There's nothing to figure out, General Turgidson,
this man is obviously a psychotic."
- President Merkin Muffley, (Peter Sellers)
"Dr. Strangelove"
c. 1964, Hawk Films, Ltd.

Comment #19 by paul zecchino on 2011 06 13

No interrogation as to where the underage drinkers got the drinks.

It is not only the under drinking that was a crime, but those that provided the liquor are the real problem.

I am sure it was innocent and all in the spirit of whisking the kids off to college for additional underage drinking.

Comment #20 by Joe Bagori on 2011 06 14

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