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Doherty expected to lead RI State Police

Despite denials by the Carcieri administration, the widespread belief is that the governor sought the resignation of Colonel Steven Pare, the superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, and that former state police Major Brendan Doherty will be his successor.

The ProJo's Amanda Milkovits captured some of the undercurrent in a  a January 13 story  

Outside his office, there was a storm of questions, as people in the law enforcement community and elsewhere wondered why Pare would suddenly decide to retire. The announcement had come with no fanfare from the governor’s office Thursday afternoon — yet chiefs, prosecutors and regular citizens reacted with shock and sadness.

Pare deflected questions about whether politics or budget cuts were reasons behind his retirement. His relationship with Governor Carcieri was “excellent,” Pare said. “The governor has allowed me to run this agency completely independently.”

Although the state budget deficit had forced him to propose reducing the troopers ranks by 25 percent, Pare dismissed that as a reason for his departure. The budget proposals and compromises come up every year, he said; it’s the nature of state government.

He said his reasons were simple. He’s 46. He reached the maximum retirement age for his pension in June 2005. He’s spent his entire adult life at the state police, and now he wants to know what else he can do. He’s a Rhode Island native and plans to stay; his wife is a schoolteacher and their daughters are both students at the University of Rhode Island. But he’s looking for other career opportunities.

“People will make assumptions and speculate. That’s the nature of the industry,” Pare said. “It was my decision.”

Pare is staying through next month to assist with the transition to a new leader. The search for his replacement is vague. “The governor will see who steps forward,” said Jeff Neal, a spokesman for Carcieri. “There’s not a specific plan for a specific type of search process.”

Carcieri spokesman Jeff Neal told me today that the search is expected to intensify after the governor presents his budget proposal and delivers his State of the State address.

 

Asked whether the governor, or anyone in the administration, had asked Pare to resign, Neal said, “Not to my knowledge, no. I do not believe that’s the case at all.”

 

Asked about the widespread view – which has spread at the State House and in law enforcement circles – that the colonel was asked to resign, Neal said, “I could not explain the origin of that rumor. I can say that I hear many rumors on Smith Hill every day that turn out not to be correct.”

 

Still, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to question the official line, particularly considering how Pare, 46, who has spent his professional life with the RISP, is leaving at a much younger age than his two predecessors, Edmund Culhane (who was 62), and the legendary Walter Stone (who retired at 79).

 

Doherty, who Carcieri had previously appointed to help oversee Beacon Mutual, is known to be a favorite of the governor. Although Neal says the succession decision “has not been made,” Doherty is thought to be a lock to get the job as top cop.

 

Doherty (who I haven’t met) has a reputation as being extremely well liked. Personally, I have only good things to say about Pare, who proved accessible even before becoming superintendent. There seems no reason to doubt that the state police, who have a sterling reputation for integrity -- no small thing in a place like Rhode Island -- will remain in good hands, although some observers are troubled by how Pare was seemingly asked to cover for the governor’s story.

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