Person shot in face in Providence

A person was shot in the face Wednesday night in Providence.

NBC 10 News reported to the scene on Laban Street around 10:30 p.m.

Police, who were mum on details, told NBC 10 News that the victim was transported to Rhode Island Hospital.

Authorities are searching for the suspect at this time.

The shooting is under investigation.

Stay with NBC 10 News and for continuing coverage. Refresh this page for updates.

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Providence Police Chief lays out body camera plan, ACLU raises concerns

PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) — Proponents of body-worn cameras are doing a victory lap after the city won a federal grant to partially fund a program to outfit 250 officers with cameras.

The program’s future isn’t set in stone; the city needs to match the $375 thousand grant, and the funding source is undetermined. But Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements says he’s confident the money will come through, and all patrol officers will be wearing cameras within a few months.

“We know body-worn cameras have been effective in improving community relations, trust, transparency,” Col. Clements said Tuesday. “They’ve also been effective in reducing crime.”

The ACLU of Rhode Island quickly raised concerns about the cameras, pointing out potential issues with the police department’s policy for use of the cameras.

In a statement, the ACLU said in part: “…the policy we understand is currently in use by the Providence Police Department will serve only to shroud body camera footage in secrecy and raise serious questions as to the discretion used by law enforcement in activating the cameras.”

Eyewitness News obtained the body camera policy, which does require officers to manually turn on the cameras in certain situations. The cameras are not automatically recording during the officer’s shift.

According to the policy, officers will be required to turn on the camera in any situation where someone is suspected of a crime, during all vehicle stops and pursuits, during any situation involving use of force, building searches, and while taking someone into custody. The policy also says officers should use the cameras during any situation that “escalates and becomes adversarial,” and whenever they deem it beneficial to record an encounter.

The policy bans officers from recording while dealing with cases of child abuse or victims of sex crimes, and when a witness to a crime requests not to be recorded.

The ACLU takes issue with the perceived discretion. Hillary Davis, a policy associate, said other police departments require officers to turn on the camera as soon as they are dispatched to a call, rather than making the decision to turn it on during an encounter.

Col. Clements said he would consider making changes.

“The policy is finished,” he said. “However, I would always entertain the idea of tweaking the policy as we move along.”

Clements said the department will err on the side of transparency when it comes to releasing the video to the public, but requests will go through the formal Access to Public Records process and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

“Our mindset is to be transparent and allow people to view the videos,” Clements said.

Sgt. Bob Boehm, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said the union is generally supportive of the cameras, and he said the ten officers who participated in a summer pilot program didn’t have any problems.

He said the union would be looking over the camera policy and determining their stance on individual issues, such as whether officers should be permitted to review the video before writing a police report.

He also acknowledged that body-worn cameras don’t always tell the whole story.

“The camera is not going to pick up what the officer is feeling,” Sgt. Boehm said. Not to mention, he added, the camera could be showing one view while the officer is looking in another direction.

Col. Clements says the cameras won’t be used to constantly monitor officers, but instead to review cases where a complaint has been made.

“This isn’t a game of ‘gotcha,’” Clements said. “We’re not going to be reviewing tapes at random. When there is a complaint, we’ll look at the tapes and try to figure out what happened.”

Video will be stored for 90 days, unless it needs to be archived for an ongoing case or complaint. The department plans to choose an unlimited cloud storage plan for the video, Clements said.

Emily Crowell, a spokesperson for Mayor Jorge Elorza, says an RFP (Request for Proposal) will go out for potential bidders to win the contract for the body cameras. The city will be working on a plan to come up with the money to match the federal grant in order for the program to move forward.

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Rhode Island leaders weigh in on first Clinton-Trump debate

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The first presidential debate in the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump proved a fierce, polarizing showdown. Gov. Gina Raimondo joined in the claiming of victory for her chosen candidate.

“I think you saw Mr. Trump not holding up well under pressure, and it certainly just reinforced my view that she ought to be the next president,” Gov. Raimondo said Tuesday.

Rhode Island GOP chairman Brandon Bell conceded that Hillary had an edge over Trump.

“I think Hillary Clinton had a good night,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination it was a knock-out punch.”

Bell said Trump allowed Clinton to “get under his skin,” and could do a better job next time by bringing up Clinton’s foundation, her email scandal and Benghazi. Bell mentioned President Obama’s first debate in 2012, when many said Mitt Romney won the match, but Obama went on to win the presidency.

Bell said Trump did a better job at the beginning of the debate.

“Unleashing the economy, the bad trade deals, protecting our people…the number one issue is safety,” Bell said, ticking off some of Trump’s early points.

Nearing the end, Donald Trump answered a question from moderator Lester Holt about his previous comments that Clinton doesn’t have a “presidential look.”

“I don’t believe she has the stamina,” he said in part. “To be president of this country, you need to have tremendous stamina.”

“It’s laughable,” said Gov. Raimondo about the comment. “This is a woman who’s been a United States Senator, traveled the world, visited more countries as Secretary of State than anyone…and she has stamina like no one I’ve ever seen,” she said.

“I think it was a comment on her health,” Bell countered. “The fact that she had to be practically carried into the van,” he said, referring to when she was seen on video staggering into a van after a 9/11 ceremony in New York. It was later disclosed that she had pneumonia.

Other Rhode Island and Massachusetts leaders also weighed in on Twitter:

Family touched by Alzheimer’s hopes to make difference for others

She was only 55 years old when she was officially diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, an uncommon form of dementia that strikes people younger than 65 years old. Irene died seven years later, in 2014.

Now her family is hoping to make a difference in the fight against the disease through the Irene Y. Rianna Memorial Foundation, a charity they created last year. The Riannas say they established it to not only keep Irene’s memory alive but also to raise money for a scholarship fund at Smithfield High School and to help other families pay for home health care.

“We would like to help them bring in – even if it’s just for a weekend – some relief so that they can get away and pay that caregiver to take care of their loved one in Irene’s name – all of this in Irene’s name,” Ken Rianna, Irene’s husband, told Eyewitness News.

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including 23,000 people in Rhode Island. Experts say that number will jump 40% by 2025, to more than 7 million nationwide. The cost of caring for patients with the disease currently stands at $236 billion.

The disease also takes an emotional toll on families.

“To be honest, I miss her like crazy I really do,” Ken, who also lost his mother to Alzheimer’s, said. “The most difficult part about that was when she would look at me with those eyes and ask me, ‘What’s wrong with me, what’s wrong with me? I know there’s something wrong with me. Ken, help me,’ and I couldn’t help her.”

Ken and Irene’s three children said they sometimes felt guilty and helpless.

“When I look back the worst is probably the guilt, because you know it’s your mom and you know that she’s ill but she’s your mom and she’s supposed to know how to do everyday things. So I would get frustrated and I look back and feel bad at the times I did get frustrated because it wasn’t her fault. It was the disease,” Kerri Rianna said.

“As far as watching dad go through this it tore us to pieces. We were losing our mother and watching our father crumble at the same time,” Kerri said.

Julie Rianna Romano, the family’s younger daughter, said “it was really hard to watch Dad not be able to fix this because dads fix things all the time and our dad always did, and he didn’t have control of the situation. We lost a piece of my dad when we lost my mom.”

Although the fight against Alzheimer’s can feel like a losing battle for some families, researchers like Dr. Stephen Salloway at Butler Hospital say it is important to continue to make vital gains.

“Alzheimer’s is a probably one of our biggest public health problems and as the population ages, we need to find ways to lower the risk and slow the progression of the disease because it’s going to affect more people,” Dr. Salloway said.

Researchers have been working to find a cure for years with no luck so far, but Dr. Salloway said the world has now entered the era of Alzheimer’s prevention.

“We’re doing a number of studies that people may be eligible for,” he said. “They’re primarily in the age range of 60-85 and people who have to have normal memory. They can have concerns about their memory, but they test normally and then we determine either through a genetic test or a PET scan – an amyloid PET scan – to see if they’re at risk for developing Alzheimer’s down the road.”

Dr. Salloway said Butler Hospital is part of a global confirmatory trial.  He’s hoping people with mild memory loss and early onset Alzheimer’s may be eligible for this study. “We need the volunteers. We need the citizen army to step up to win the war against Alzheimer’s.”

He also says future treatment will continue to improve because doctors are going to be able to intervene sooner to help lower the risk, “I think Alzheimer’s will be much more manageable over time and I’m hoping that we’ll have our first breakthrough. I’m hoping that this result that we reported two weeks ago will be the first the stage of a breakthrough for Alzheimer’s.”

For the Rianna family, the goal is to continue giving back to the community.

“I’m looking forward to the day where I see her again and my faith tells me I will,” Ken said.

Warwick home security company donates alarm systems to victims of domestic violence

WARWICK — Feeling safe at home is a luxury for most victims of domestic violence — even long after they have cut ties with their abusers.Knowing that, a national home security company based in Warwick…

WARWICK, R.I. — Feeling safe at home is a luxury for most victims of domestic violence — even long after they have cut ties with their abusers.

Knowing that, a national home security company based in Warwick recently partnered with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence to give victims that peace of mind.

Alliance Security is donating home alarm systems to clients referred to them by the coalition.

“Feeling secure in your own home is an incredible feeling, and until you’ve lost it, it’s a feeling that most of us take for granted,” Deborah DeBare, executive director of the coalition, said last week.

“I know that firsthand from talking to the families in our shelters,” she said. “Even [when someone] may not want to be in a shelter, we hear people say that they got the best night’s sleep they ever had because they felt safe.”

DeBare said that the idea came from Alliance, which approached the coalition late last year.

“We’ve always believed in giving back to the community, and now, as we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary, we felt we were in a position to do something like this,” Brian Fabian, chief operating officer for Alliance, said Friday.

The company’s executives, he said, felt that providing an added sense of safety for victims of domestic violence was a good fit with their company’s professional mission, particularly because it’s a societal problem that affects so many people.

“It’s a good cause that hits close to home,” he said. “We protect people’s homes and families for a living.”

Alliance has about 100,000 customers in 35 states, Fabiano said, with most of its customer base consisting of residences and small businesses.

The partnership with the Coalition Against Domestic Violence is still getting off the ground, and the first step is to install security systems for families that are just getting back on their feet by moving into “transition apartments” after living in a shelter, DeBare and Fabiano said.

Alliance, Fabiano said, will treat the clients who are referred to the company by the coalition just like any other customer — inspecting their residence and determining what security system is best for them.

Right now, he said, the company has not placed a limit on how many security systems it will be able to donate, and will assess the program as it progresses.

“Actually, our commitment is to see if we can continue this commitment beyond Rhode Island,” Fabiano said. “We’d like to help as many people as we can.”

Alliance this year also made a $10,000 contribution to the coalition to support some of its education and prevention programs.

“This gives us great satisfaction,” Fabiano said. “We want to do the right thing … and that’s part of the culture we breed for our employees.

“And we certainly want to help those in need.”

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Boy, 7, killed in Rhode Island house fire; teenage girls injured

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — A 7-year-old boy has been killed and his teenage sisters injured in a house fire in Rhode Island.

The Providence Journal reports a police officer on patrol noticed smoke billowing from the home in Middletown early Monday morning. Officers forced their way inside and rescued the girls from the first floor.

Officers were unable to get to the home’s second floor because of heavy smoke.

Responding firefighters eventually reached the second floor, where the boy was in serious condition.

All three siblings were taken to area hospitals, where the boy died from his injuries.

Police told WJAR-TV that the children’s parents were not home when the fire broke out.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Home security company helping domestic violence victims

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is teaming up with a home security company to help victims of domestic violence feel safer.

The advocacy group has partnered with Warwick-based Alliance Security to offer a free year of home security service to victims moving from a safe home into transitional housing.

“What we found is that clients don’t always feel safe in their home,” said Linda Impagliazzo, Executive Director of Blackstone Valley Advocacy Center In Pawtucket.

The security system goes into the transitional unit where victims live before they move completely on their own.

“It’s something that we’re very proud of.  We feel like it is something that is necessary. It’s something that’s gone way too long without being noticed. I know it’s in the news these days but we want to do whatever we can to help,” said Jay Gotra, CEO, Alliance Security.

The first security system was installed two months ago and several have been installed since.

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