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New Woonsocket police chief tobe sworn in tonight
Monday, 15 September 2008
By RUSS OLIVO

WOONSOCKET — Newly appointed Police Chief Thomas S. Carey quietly assumed the helm of the Woonsocket Police Department Monday and will be officially sworn in at a ceremony in City Hall tonight.

Carey said he is still consulting with Interim Chief Eric Croce and has been trying to familiarize himself with department procedures, regulations and personnel. He qualified to carry the WPD’s service-issued Sig Sauer .40 caliber sidearm at the Manville Road shooting range last Friday, giving reporters a thumbs-up when asked how he did.
He said he has gone on some “ridealongs” with patrol officers on different shifts to try to get to know members of the department.
“There’s a lot to learn,” said Carey.
Carey and his wife, Nancy — both Massachusetts natives — have been living in town for more than a week after leasing a loft on Allen Street, overlooking the Blackstone River. There is no requirement that Carey live in the city as a condition of being police chief, but he has said he wants to live here and likes the city.

Carey said Croce has pledged to remain available and is “just a phone call away” if he has any questions.
Carey is a 25-year-veteran of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Police Department, a law enforcement agency with more than five times as many police officers as the 101 members of the Woonsocket police force. Carey was one of half-dozen majors on the St. Petersburg force who held the rank of major, a tier below the chief, and was in charge of a unit specializing in property crimes when he left the position to become chief in Woonsocket.
Mayor Susan Menard appointed Carey as the next permanent chief of the department last month after a national search that lasted some four months. Initially, 52 people applied for the job, but Carey was among three finalists whose names were presented to Menard by a screening committee in charge of winnowing down the pool of contenders. Other finalists were Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Greene of Blackstone, Mass., and Capt. Robert Ryan of the Cranston Police Department.
Carey will be on probation for six months, a period during which the public safety director may terminate him from the $82,074-a-year job at any time without cause. Prior police chiefs in recent years have all had long-term contracts offering them stronger protections, but changes were ushered in as part of a City Council-led overhaul of the job description earlier this year.
A detective lieutenant with the Rhode Island State Police, Croce has been on loan to the city since March 5, following the resignations of Chief Michael. L.A. Houle and Deputy Chief Richard Dubois. Both resigned in quick succession after allegations that they had helped engineer the hiring of Houle’s ex-wife, former Patrolwoman Marsha Bish, by doctoring the results of her written qualifying exams. Shortly after the exit of Houle and Dubois, even Menard tendered her resignation, saying she would leave office by mid-June to spend more time with her family, but she later retracted her remarks.
Bish’s allegations were forwarded to the State Police for investigation of possible criminal wrongdoing. But State Police Maj. Steve O’Donnell said last week that there will be no criminal charges forthcoming against anyone as a result of the probe. O’Donnell proclaimed the charges of exam tampering all but impossible to prosecute because certain individuals were unwilling to cooperate with investigators.
O’Donnell did not provide any names, but he said some individuals the State Police wanted to question invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, a development he called “troubling” and “problematic,” according to published reports.
The swearing-in of the new chief is scheduled to take place at 6 tonight in Harris Hall, 169 Main St. Menard will preside over the swearing in. She’s expected to name a deputy chief shortly from within the existing ranks of the police department.

Last Updated ( Friday, 19 September 2008 )