North Prov. mayoral candidate calling for state police investigation

NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A mayoral candidate in the city of North Providence is calling for a Rhode Island State Police investigation into an ongoing feud between members of the police union and the mayor.

With the election just months away, Kristen Catanzaro said Mayor Charles Lombardi’s micro-managing of the police department has caused major issues.

“We should be an A-rated department,” said Councilwoman Catanzaro, who isrunning against Lombardi. “And we’re a D. We’re dysfunctional.”

North Providence Town Councilwoman Kristen Catanzaro
North Providence Town Councilwoman Kristen Catanzaro
Catanzaro, a Democrat, is now urging the state police to investigate – among other things – allegations that Lombardi called for certain information about the acting police chief to be deleted from an internal investigative report.

“It’s taking care of his guys,” Catanzaro said. “He’s not taking care of taxpayers.”

Lombardi denies the claims, saying instead they are personnel and union problems.

“We have a union that’s trying to run the police department,” Lombardi said. “Their job is to run to the police calls, not to try to run the police department.”

Lombardi said the rank and file of the department are unhappy because the interim chief is “all cop.”

Eyewitness News asked if Lombardi thinks some officers are trying to “milk the police department.”

“I think if you check some of the salaries that are being made, and that’s… questionable,” he said.

According to Lombardi, Catanzaro is making the issue political and said she is in cahoots with the union. The councilwoman denied the claim.

North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi
North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi

Lombardi said he won’t fight against a state police probe if one is launched.

“If they feel there is a reason to come in, I welcome them,” he said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Col. Steven O’Donnell of the state police on Tuesday. He said he has to have a face-to-face meeting with Catanzaro to hear her claims and see if there is valid evidence to launch an investigation.

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