Taveras' Public Safety Bedfellows

Providence mayoral candidate Angel Taveras released his public safety plan today. No great surprises for those who have followed the campaign closely. The first two bullets reference the recent troubles in the police department and suggest a long-telegraphed split with the Cicilline administration on public safety leadership:

    • Conduct a comprehensive top-to-bottom review of the police department, including the record of the senior leadership and the department’s hiring, promotion and internal affairs policies.      
    • Appoint a Public Safety Commissioner to coordinate a citywide public safety plan that includes the police department, the fire department and emergency responders.

(Cicilline has declined to hire a public safety commissioner, overseeing police and fire, and has filled the post himself.) 

But if the plan is no great surprise, there's something else of note here. As a Taveras supporter emphasizes to N4N, Taveras drew on an impressive team in assembling his plan: "former State Police Col. Steven Pare, Providence Police Chief Richard Sullivan and Norman Orodenker, a member of the United States Civil Rights Advisory Commission for Rhode Island," as the campaign release puts it.

Impressive, perhaps. But intriguing, too. Sullivan was fired by Taveras' rival for the mayoralty, City Councilman John Lombardi, during Lombardi's brief service as interim mayor following Buddy Cianci's resignation - a move that drew reproach from the Providence Journal editorial page, among other places, given that a new mayor (Cicilline) was on the way and soon to make his own mark.

And Orondenker, a prominent lawyer, has a particularly compelling history. Consider just a couple of notes: Conservative firebrand Stephen Laffey, who served as Cranston mayor and challenged then-Senator Lincoln Chafee, called Orondenker a second father and leaned on him heavily for legal work during his time in the mayor's office. And Orondenker has been a prominent voice of support for Providence Police Chief Dean Esserman, who came under attack after the recent arrest of Providence police officers.

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