As­sumpico sworn in

Col. Ann Claire As­sumpico ‘of­fi­cially’ tabbed as su­per­in­ten­dent of the Rhode Is­land State Po­lice

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH B. NADEAU jnadeau@woonsock­et­

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.”

Pho­tos by Joseph B. Nadeau/The Times

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.

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