Official Obituary: Urbano “Barney” Prignano, Jr.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Urbano "Barney" Prignano, Jr., Ret Colonel, Providence Police Department, 75 of Fruit Hill Avenue, North Providence passed away November 22, 2017. He was the husband of Sandra (Morgero) Prignano
Born in Providence, he was the son of the late Urbano and Edith (Grieco) Prignano, Sr.
Barney began his 34-year career at the Providence Police Department in 1967. While starting out in the Patrol Division, he was quickly recognized for his work and moved to a number of special assignments. These assignments included the investigation of organized crime and narcotics in the City of Providence. Barney developed skills in wiretapping that made him an asset for law enforcement throughout Rhode Island and beyond. As an investigator Detective Prignano was involved in some notorious Rhode Island cases including his key role as one of the investigators in the Bonded Vault robbery.
In the early 1990s then Sergeant Prignano was promoted toinspector to run the department's narcotics unit. Inspector Prignano immediately began opening relationships with other Federal, State, and local agencies to combat narcotics throughout Rhode Island. His successes in this position abounded leading to his promotion to Major in 1994.
In October of 1995, Urbano "Barney" Prignano was promoted to Chief of the Providence Police Department. Consistent with his many years in the Providence Police Department he moved like a tornado in bringing about change within the department.
Chief Prignano recognized that officers needed equipment and training to meet the needs of 21st Century Policing. Within two years of his becoming Chief, he put a computer on every desk in the police stations, taking the department from typewriters and carbon paper to computers. Recognizing the need for efficiency in paperwork in order to keep officers on patrol, Chief Prignano put laptop computers in every police vehicle. His passion for science and technology led to the purchase of the first free-standing Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) in Rhode Island, which led to the arrest and convictions of many criminals based on fingerprints.
The equipment did not end there, Chief Prignano led the way in purchasing, for the first time, semi-automatic pistols for officers, he outfitted the Marine Patrol with new equipment and following his passion for animals, he purchased new equipment as well as new horses and canines for the Mounted Command and Canine Units.
Colonel Prignano, years ahead of his time, recognized the need for sound judgment in officer-involved shootings and purchased the first firearms simulator owned by a law enforcement agency in Rhode Island. Going further he provided the resources for every officer to undergo non-violence training in the philosophy of Martin Luther King.
Chief Prignano's passion and his recognition that the youth of the city were the key to reducing crime, led to his direction that several different programs be started and resourced by the Providence Police Department. At the heart of these programs was K.I.D.s Inc., a program run at the Providence Police Academy for at-risk children, who were identified after they committed crimes of violence.
As Colonel, he recognized that while the department participated in other programs that addressed elementary school children, there was no such program as our youths got older and entered the difficult years of high school. This led to a highly successful program dubbed: "Chances and Choices." In addition, Chief Prignano used department personnel and funds to start a number of athletic programs as well as keeping pre-existing programs resourced that were directed at gang intervention.
Colonel Prignano, whose outward personality was old school and hardcore had a deep respect and love for his Providence Police Officers, the youth of the City, and most of all his family.
He was the father of Lisa Bonsante and her husband William and Michele Tella PPD; stepfather of Tiffanie Morgero; grandfather of David A. Morgan, Nicholas U. Tella and Alexis N. Tella and brother of Rosemarie Maggiacomo.
Visitation will be held Sunday from 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM in the ROMANO FUNERAL HOME, 627 Union Avenue, Providence.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Monday at 10:00 AM in St. Mary Church, 1525 Cranston Street, Cranston. Graveside burial to follow in St. Ann Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Barney's memory to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. For online condolences, www.romanofuneralhome.com
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