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A reminder of how much the Providence Police Department has changed

January 4, 2012

As widely expected, Hugh Clements was named this morning as the new leader of the Providence Police Department. His mercurial predecessor, Dean Esserman, could be his own worst enemy, but Esserman also helped move the Providence department past a cloud of serious problems.

As I wrote in the Phoenix prior to Esserman’s selection in 2002:

The challenge of moving the department forward only gets more daunting with the unresolved allegations that some officers bought jobs or cheated their way into them. As a practice, Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse doesn’t comment on the status of investigations being conducted by his office, but he’s not shy in dissecting the impact of the related charges: “When young officers in the Providence Police Department look up to their senior officer, to the extent that they question whether they got there by bribery or cheating, that’s hardly conducive to having confidence in the command structure.”

That kind of suspicion is now just a memory for the Providence department.

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