Back on January 26, N4N reported on how former Major Brendan Doherty was expected to get the nod to succeed Steven Pare as the superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. Today, it became official. (Channel 10 also predicted this outcome back in January.)
Like Pare, Doherty is a strapping law enforcement veteran who looks like he could have stepped out of the 1950s. Like his predecessor, he has impressive credentials in his field. And like Pare, he can be expected to do a strong job in leading the venerable agency.
Doherty's appointment, however, has been an open secret in media, government, and law enforcement circles for months. Pare, because of his rectitude, is highly unlikely to ever confirm this, but the widespread view is that he was asked to leave, so that Doherty, as Governor Carcieri's choice, could come in.
The RISP are held in high esteem by Rhode Islanders, and for good reason. They, along with the ProJo, have long played an important role in policing illegal and unethical behavior, whether by mobsters, judges, pols, or others. In this who-you-know state, the integrity of the state police has rested on their independence.
Doherty, 48, has the right stuff to do a fine job, and he's very well-liked. Still, although the assembled media was treating this as a routine transition story, even some of those highly placed in law enforcement recognize how it's anything but that.
Carcieri stuck to his story at today's newser, saying that he "talked to a lot of people [as candidates]." When I asked about the view that Pare was asked to leave, and that because of that, this is a political appointment, Carcieri said, "It's wrong . . . [reporters] make up things . . . He [Doherty] will be a great leader for the state police."
Later, Doherty -- whose appointment was attended by an ethusiastic crowd of state general officers and state troopers -- said he didn't want "to give any dignity" to the view that his selection was pre-ordained. It's a question for the governor, he said, and one that Doherty says he considers without merit. If so, "I would have been standing here in January."
And so it goes.