Assumpico sworn in
Col. Ann Claire Assumpico ‘officially’ tabbed as superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police
Monday was a day of crisp tradition and formality at the R.I. Convention Center, and also a day for new beginnings and a bright outlook for the future as Gov. Gina Raimondo swore in Col. Ann Claire Assumpico as the 13th Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
A phalanx of smartly uniformed state troopers had followed the honor guard and bag pipers into the ceremonies on the fifth floor of the Convention Center, and there were law enforcement members from around Rhode Island and beyond sitting in the audience with Assumpico’s family and friends.
The ceremony was put on by State Police members in honor of their new top trooper, the first woman serve in that capacity and the first, in fact, to serve as the head of any State Police agency in the country.
Sgt. Robert E. Kenahan, retired, led the gathering in the
Pledge of Allegiance, State Police Detective Amanda L. Brezniak sang the National Anthem, and Lt. Col. Joseph F. Philbin served as the master of ceremonies.
The speakers called to the podium included those who knew Assumpico from her 40-year-career in law enforcement, retired R.I. Department of Corrections Warden Albert “Bud” Gardner and retired Rhode Island State Police Superintendent Edmond S. Culhane, and also a member of her family, her brother-in-law Arthur Serpa who related her determination to succeed as a young woman and also how her story is one of “courage and determination and how she overcame the challenges in her career.”
Raimondo said it was “an honor and privilege to be here to officially swear in Col. Ann C. Assumpico as the 13th Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.”
Raimondo pointed to the Rhode Island State Police as a “special institution, a special and distinguished institution and your pride and discipline, your commitment to serve and protect the people of Rhode Island and the high standards you have set to treat every body with respect and dignity has made Rhode State Police one of our state’s most storied and respected institutions,” the Governor said. “And I thank you for that and it is an honor to serve with you,” she said.
The governor also thanked those in the audience who had been part of the State Police and worked to make it “such an extraordinary institution over the years.”
She also related how the agency’s traditions and reputation had been in mind when she selected Assumpico for her post.
“It was hard, a tall task, for me to select the next colonel of the Rhode Island State Police knowing that I had to find somebody who was up to the task of leading such a great institution and taking the institution to the next level,” Raimondo said. “I knew I needed a leader that would embrace the traditions, who was a great leader and also was ready willing and able to make the institution even better. And in Colonel Ann Assumpico I selected a leader well worthy of the title of Rhode Island State Police Superintendent,” Raimondo said.
“Colonel Assumpico has spent her entire career in law enforcement. She said she knew from the time she was a ten-year-old girl this is what she wanted to do. She was first a Rhode Island Corrections officer and then a police officer walking a beat in Coventry, and for the last 25 plus years rose through the ranks of the Rhode Island State Police,” Raimondo said.
Assumpico graduated from Col. Culhane’s first academy, the governor noted, and she went on to work with Colonel Steven M. Pare, and after 14 years on the job Col. Brendan P. Doherty promoted her to lieutenant and made her the officer in charge of planning, research and the accreditation unit.
“This is a woman who has decades of experience and knows how to do this job,” the governor said. “She’s come up through the ranks, she’s come up through the ranks just like you. She’s worked through the night, she’s done late patrols and she’s emptied out many cans of Brasso keeping the buckle clean and shiny,” she said while noting her attention to uniformed perfection.
“And Colonel Assumpico loves the Rhode Island State Police. For me that was very important, it was clear to me that she has a deep and abiding love and passion and respect for the institution that is Rhode Island State Police. And she is uniquely qualified to carry on the agency’s proud traditions and lead it into the future. And now more than ever we need a lead to keep the people of Rhode Island safe and secure,” Raimondo said.
The governor noted that Assumpico would soon take a “solemn oath to lead the Rhode Island State Police to the best of your ability, and as governor let me express my confidence in your ability to preserve and strengthen the reputation of the Rhode Island State Police, an agency that serves and protects all the people of Rhode Island and upholds Rhode Island’s laws, the founding principles of our state and never waivers in its commitment to upholding the laws in the Constitution of the United States,” Raimondo said.
“We all know we live in an uncertain and insecure time and I cannot think of a better person to lead the Rhode Island State Police and secure the safety of all of the people of Rhode Island than Colonel Ann C. Assumpico,” Raimondo concluded.
Col. Culhane also expressed confidence in the abilities of the new superintendent while relating some of her background in law enforcement.
“Ann Claire Assumpico, the 13th Superintendent of the State Police, what an honor and what a challenge,” Culhane, superintendent from 1990 to 2001, said. “But there is no doubt that she is up to the challenge. Her bio reads like a recruiting pamphlet for Special Forces Navy Seals and corporate management. If it says anything, it says ready, willing, able and prepared,” Culhane said.
Assumpico entered the State Police Training Academy during Culhane’s tenure and he recalled that in her early days as a Trooper “she served with distinction.”
Assumpico became a night supervisor and was “an asset to all those who patrolled with her,” Culhane said. “She was experienced, physically fit, calm, and extremely capable. She brought to her cruiser eight years as a corrections officer and seven years’ experience as a highly regarded Coventry police officer before she even put on her britches and laced up her boots,” Culhane said. Her experience and ability quickly made Assumpico Culhane’s “go-to person,” a person who is so dependable “they automatically come to mind when a job needs doing well, needs doing promptly and needs doing on time,” he said. “Ann Assumpico was my go to trooper,” Culhane said while explaining how he came to count on her to complete many projects and tasks.
Serpa told how Assumpico has always been an “inspiration’ to her family, related how she overcame losing her father at an early age and had been encouraged by her mother to pursue all her goals, including her service with the State Police.
Gardner told of Assumpico’s self control and perseverance while training to be a correctional officer, traits he credited for helping her to reach her future successes in law enforcement.
“She was always ready to coach, support and cheer on those who were having difficulty,” Gardner said while relating how he tapped Assumpico to help train other officers with the Department of Corrections.
Her personal strength and willingness to face challenges was shown when she had to repel down the side of the Providence Fire Department training tower during training and appeared to be hesitant at first to go out the window, the warden said.
It was a task intended to build team work and camaraderie and Assumpico had to complete it, he said.
When she went out the window, Assumpico made it to the ground safely but her training didn’t stop there, he said.
“She went back up the tower and she continued to repel until she was laughing on her way down. That was courage,” Gardner said.
After she had been given the flag of the State Police under the “change of command” portion of the ceremony and read her oath of office, Assumpico had her own remarks for the gathering.
“When I started my career in law enforcement many years ago, the thought that some day I would be privileged to hold the title of Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police never really seemed a possibility,” she said.
“The prospects and requirements were very different from the expectations of today and few people were given the opportunity to reach their potential. Today I stand before you feeling fortunate for this nomination and determined to succeed,” Assumpico said.
She noted the many members of law enforcement joining her family and friends for the swearing in and said she was “motivated to carry my responsibilities with the utmost dignity.”
Above, Col. Ann Claire Assumpico, left, was sworn in as the 13th Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police on Monday. Below, former Colonel Edmond S. Culhane, Jr. delivers remarks during the ceremonies.