Sen. Frank S. Lombardi is calling for the public release of a state police assessment of the Cranston Police Department, saying there is no reason it should remain a secret when it’s a publicly funded report on the practices of a public agency.
“This report is an evaluation of a city department that the taxpayers support, and the people ofCranston deserve to know what’s in it. It also cost $500,000 in taxpayer money to produce. Our citizens have a right to see what the result is,” said Senator Lombardi (D-Dist. 26, Cranston).
The report is the result of a review of the police department requested by Mayor Allan Fung following a scandal in which city councilors who voted against a new police contract saw their wards blanketed with parking tickets in subsequent days. State police Col. Steven G. O’Donnell has indicated that the report includes information about “a lack of leadership and mistrust within the highest levels of the department” as well as “political interference and influence from” the mayor and his staff. In his letter informing the mayor the report was ready, the colonel also said it includes information about alleged problems with the department’s promotional system, the hiring of private investigators to conduct surveillance on members and the overall mistreatment of members of the department.
Mayor Fung has so far refused to make the report public, and has asked the attorney general for an advisory opinion about what may be released. The City Council this week declined to have a closed-door meeting with the mayor about the report, because members were suspicious the meeting was a way to bar them from publicly talking about the report’s content.
Senator Lombardi, who offered his thanks to the Rhode Island State Police for their work on the evaluation, said the mayor has the authority to release the report, and, more importantly, has a duty to do so because it details the operations and alleged problems of a major city department that has an impact on their daily lives as well as their wallets. He also argued that the public’s right to that information should outweigh concerns about personnel confidentiality, since many of the apparent issues with the department involve allegations of impropriety.
“The people of Cranston are entitled to know what the state police have to say about how the city police department is doing. This is public information, and I don’t see why this shouldn’t be shared with the public,” said Senator Lombardi.