NAACP Head Calls For National Search For New RI State Police Supt.

Sep 9, 2016

Jim Vincent, head of the Providence chapter of the NAACP, at a press conference after the 2016 mass shooting of Dallas police officers.
Credit Sophie Kasakove

Jim Vincent, president of the Providence NAACP, has called on Gov. Gina Raimondo to begin a formal national search for a new state police superintendent to replace Col. Steven O’Donnell, who is retiring after more than five years on the job.

Vincent said a national search is necessary because the top brass of the state police currently lacks any women or minorities in a position to apply for the job.  "We need a national search so that Rhode Island can get the best possible superintendent.’’

"No women or minorities are in a position at this time to apply for the job of superintendent,’’ said Vincent. The state police do a good job, Vincent said, but the force "doesn’t reflect the Rhode Island community.’’

Raimondo was criticized in August by the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers foe the "woefully disappointing’’ lack of African-Americans from the latest group of new RI state police.

The last outsider to hold the top RI state police post was Col. Edmund Culhane, who was first deputy superintendent of the New York State Police when he was hired by then-Gov. Edward DiPrete in 1990. He served 11 years.

Vincent’s comments came at a taping of the "Lively Experiment" public affairs program at WSBE-Channel 36 and in an interview after.