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Police Chief put On Paid Leave

State Police are conducting a broad review of the department's operations in the wake of an overnight parking ticket scandal.

Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung announced that Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palombo has been placed on paid administrative leave pending a review of the department by State Police.

The police department will be led by State Police Capt. Kevin Barry, who will simultaneously lead a review of the so-called ticket blitz that has embroiled the Cranston Police Department with allegations of abuse of power after two City Councilmen alleged their voting wards were mass-ticketed with overnight parking citations the night after they voted against a new police contract in November.

Another, more detailed review of the department's professional standards will be conducted by State Police Capt. Benjamin Barney to investigate various allegations and concerns within the department, said State Police Superintendent Col. Steven O'Donnell.

Fung said the scope of the investigation broadened after "additional allegations" about the department surfaced in recent days. Those allegations were in the form of yet more anonymous letters and Fung would not elaborate on the nature of the allegations.

The thorough review is intended to reassure the public that they can have faith in both the police and city administration, Fung said.

"It's incumbent on myself to ensure there is trust within the community amongst all agencies of our city government," Fung said. 

Barry will oversee the department's day-to-day operations and both Barry and Barney will provide the mayor with an "objective assessment" to "review any pending matters within the department so that this administration, so that I, as mayor and chief safety officer and most importantly, the residents of Cranston can move forward in an expeditious and yet diligent manner," Fung said.

Defending himself from the suggestion that he dragged his feet when the allegations first surfaced last month, Fung said it's "unfortunate" that "some members of the City Council have chosen to play politics with this matter."

"I do not and have not reacted in any type of knee-jerk reaction," Fung said. "Now is the time to rise above the fray and put the rumors to rest and complete an independent non-biased investigation and more importantly, restore confidence in the City of Cranston and most importantly, in our police department."

Barry is a 19-year veteran of the State Police, O'Donnell said, promising that the investigation will be conducted "cleanly, swiftly and effectively." He was selected in part because he is not eligible to retire from the Rhode Island State Police, which helps maintain a degree of impartiality. Upon completion of his work, he will return to the State Police, O'Donnell said.

It was not clear after today's press conference whether Palombo is suspected of any wrongdoing or if his temporary leave is more of a formality that calls for the head of the department under review to step aside. But Fung emphasized that the state police review is temporary.

O'Donnell could not give a specific timeframe for the investigation. The state police have not begun any investigative work into the overnight parking ticket allegations yet, but they have reviewed the internal report from Cranston Police and it is likely that all aspects of that report will be reexamined and people will be reinterviewed.

And it is unlikely that the public will learn much from the investigation, due to the Police Officers' Bill of Rights and other personnel issues which are usually kept secret. 

Today's events do, however, underscore an apparent rift within the police department that is strong enough to compel rank-and-file officers to write anonymous letters to city officials with complaints.

Before this ticketing scandal, the Cranston Police Department has been typically held in high regard by other law enforcement agencies and people who work closely with the department. This past year, the department received exclusive state accreditation and last year obtained national accreditation — something fewer that five percent of departments across the country achieve. 

Click here to watch a complete video of the press conference. 

For complete coverage of the issue, see:

Councilmen Say Their Wards Mass-Ticketed in Retaliation for Police Contract Vote

After voting against a new police contract, Councilmen Steve Stycos and Paul Archetto say their wards were targeted by a rash of tickets in retaliation.

Fung: "I Do Not Condone Any Type of Intimidating Behavior"

Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung has responded to allegations of abuse of power at the Cranston Police Department over a flurry of parking tickets that two city councilmen say were issued in retribution against their votes.

Map of Tickets Appears to Support Councilmens' Claims

According to this map of addresses where tickets were issued in the hours following the contract vote, there appears to be plausible evidence to support those claims.

Were you ticketed? Here's the List

Look closely and click "download PDF" next to the image to check out the addresses.

Fung Taps Independent Investigator to Review Police Ticket Blitz

Cranston Mayor Fung announced that he has hired a private investigator to review the police department's own internal review of "allegations of improper use of police authority," according to a release.

ACLU Says Review of Ticket Blitz Investigation Doesn't go Far Enough

The RIACLU is asking Cranston Mayor Allan W. Fung to launch a full-scale independent investigation.

Jose January 10, 2014 at 05:25 PM
@dphs18. The captain is much more than a "traffic officer". Hes a squared away, well respected supervisor with no loyalties. Multiple degrees, and has experience in narcotics & intelligence. He also did a stint with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. What experience does Palombo have? Lets see, high school diploma and a career in patrol with time spent in internal affairs covering up for his buddies.
dphs18 January 10, 2014 at 07:12 PM
You can have all the degrees in the world, but driving up and down the highway dressed like you're going to the prom is no substitute for experience dealing with violent criminals.
Bob January 10, 2014 at 07:21 PM
Don't you just love this crap......Around here a scandal is only a minute away.....First...paid administrative leave - translated in layman's terms... paid vacation..second The Mayor still looks weak and vulnerable since day one regarding this fiasco.....what a joke...from the top down.....I'm sure the rank and file officers who clean up the scum bags in this city everyday are really appreciative of the chosen few who think they are above the law......Karma is a great thing...Bye Bye run for Governor hopes Mr Mayor....he should be asked to leave the race now.....him and his buddy Tavares who from what I hear is dealing with his own little scandal that is brewing.....hahaha I love it....
Suzanne Arena January 11, 2014 at 12:02 AM
Capt. Barry sounds like quite the replacement with his credentials. I noted the initial article mentioned Antonucci barked the directions to ticket, but nothing more has been mentioned about him. I would have thought the Union member would be put on a paid vacation with the Colonel while the allegations are being looked into?? The focus is now on Fung and the Col. I'm with you Elizabeth, this is getting interesting….start the popcorn!
Suzanne Arena January 11, 2014 at 12:04 AM
Just curious, they keep mentioning the Officer's Bill of Rights. I looked it up because they infer that this is a bad thing on the radio (naturally), but I wondered. It seems it varies in different states. Here is the 123 on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_Enforcement_Officers'_Bill_of_Rights
Mark O'Plumbob January 11, 2014 at 12:18 AM
Oh Suzanne I love you!! Jim Tarticani has his hooks into both Stephen Antonucci and his cousin Russ Henry lots to be hidden and lot to be told. This will be interesting!! The rats are scurrying for cover! Not the rat in the cop context but the one(s) that are in the every day context. AKA union scumbags with Rodio covering the bases. LOL
Mark O'Plumbob January 11, 2014 at 12:42 AM
Just watch the rats squirm this will be fun, The State Police will get to the bottom of the pot and will throw it out there but will let those in charge make the decisions. FUN, FUN, FUNG!
Jose January 11, 2014 at 01:24 AM
Heres an interesting and ironic tidbit I just came across. Palombo teaches ETHICS at the police academy? Are you kidding me? Thats like letting drug dealers teach sunday school...it just ain't right. He must stand up in front of the class and use his own wrongdoings, excuse me I mean experiences, as part of the curriculum.
Mark O'Plumbob January 11, 2014 at 01:47 AM
@Jose The old adage holds true. those who can do, those who can't teach. It's kind of a sad laugh.
karyl gill (Cost) January 11, 2014 at 07:03 AM
Very sad time for CPD
Elizabeth Roy January 11, 2014 at 08:56 AM
Guess this city is still run by "It's who you know and to whom you are related". Just disgusted with this Goomba city.
Elizabeth Roy January 11, 2014 at 09:00 AM
Suzanne, it appears that the police have rights, the criminals have rights (especially when incarcerated), but the citizen has nothing!
Becca January 11, 2014 at 09:44 AM
Heard a few will be filing retirement papers very soon. Palumbo thought he was "untouchable" he hurt many good men, women & their families. Now the tables have turned. In the meantime Antonucci & Henry should be fired & anyone of them found guilty of wrongdoings should lose their pensions!
Elizabeth Roy January 11, 2014 at 09:49 AM
And the wheel goes round and round. The Boss Mayor really isn't, the Boss Cop is a self-entitled thug. Streets are a mess, plowing is always a joke, the rat problem is still rampant, and Providence kids are still attending Cranston schools! This is what our taxes pay for.
Good Year January 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM
You can't keep electing the same people over and over again, especially in the General Assembly, and complain about the disastrous results.
Otto January 11, 2014 at 12:25 PM
At least the picked the right agency to do an investigation. Nobody knows more about tickets than the RI Highway Patrol.
Suzanne Arena January 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM
130% agree Becca! What's shocking to me in this coy State, is that if someone in the private sector was found guilty of malicious and intentful wrongdoing, the entity would press charges and strip that individual(s) of their monetary benefits. The Big Picture for me is that Mayor Fung has been reported to have created 400+ jobs here in Cranston, which comparing to the other candidates would make him shine. However, here is an entity he is managing for our City and WE, the TAXPAYERS will be paying lots for this mismanagement. Either way that he tries to distance himself from the bees nest, most people believe he knew something and are not feeling comfortable. I hope those with 'stuff' on the organized bad eggs will whistle blow anonymously with all the facts they have to oust those truly Bad Cops. I hope this is a catalyst for change with the City and State at large!
Patrick Boyd January 11, 2014 at 01:15 PM
Otto and dphs18, one and the same.
2ferskippy January 11, 2014 at 03:15 PM
nothing will happen to these crooks
Becca January 11, 2014 at 05:11 PM
@Suzanne, he is trying to distance himself but its to late! We all know the Police Union was in bed with him, support me I appoint you! Deal The City had a great leader McGrath he did his job there was NO reason to replace him! If you are a good person running for office you don't need the unions win on your merit! In the meantime our City has been embarrassed by the dirty dozen! The State police are well respected by all & they will do what needs to be done! The big issue here is NOT the tickets but why good Captains were suspended without just cause??? The Mayor needs to terminate all involved immediately!
Good Year January 11, 2014 at 06:29 PM
Even though their primary responsibility is traffic , they are still a very professional organization . I'm confident that they will do a thorough and impartial investigation.
Jose January 11, 2014 at 08:37 PM
Ha! "support me I appoint you" is more like "PAY me I appoint you". Look up the contributions online, the Antonucci clan alone has given over $2000 to Fung, $600 came last fall right around when Stephen Antonucci made Captain. Alan Loiselle & Carl R. Ricci have both given $1000+ to Fung. Carmody, Maj Ryan, Henry have all given money too. Theres a serious issue here. You do not need a whole lot of smarts to see thru the BS. Fung clsims to be better than all the rest but in reality hes just another politician for sale.
Suzanne Arena January 11, 2014 at 10:04 PM
I must say that as a co-organizer of the Glen Wood Crime Watch Association, we have had a strong working relationship with Col. Palombo and the law enforcement. As a direct result of their efforts to help stop the Crime and Sex Offender numbers at Harrington Hall from record highs… their efforts brought numbers back down to a lower cap. We have been very satisfied with the great work that CPD has given. Additionally, I have worked with the Colonel on Sex Offender issues and he has implemented some State of the Art protection to school kids. I know nothing of what internal turmoil has been building, but I do know that I have had quick turnaround with response. So as an outsider, I am grateful for my needs having been acknowledged and met. I do hope the investigation finds those who have been corrupt and will hold those individuals accountable and clear the playing field soon.
Mark O'Plumbob January 11, 2014 at 11:39 PM
So after allowing one of RI's most respected municipal departments to turn into a punch line in less than five years. What will Marco Palumbo do during his indefinite time off? a) Attempt to join RISP but fail because of "character issues". b) Obtain an online college degree. c) Try to calculate the number of citizens and officers he screwed over for individual & political gain.
James Flanagan January 12, 2014 at 04:29 AM
It's their job Suzanne....sorry CPD ..no accolades for doing what you are hired to do.
Becca January 12, 2014 at 08:35 AM
@Cranston Resident...or Captain Carmody you didn't donate using your name, Melissa did it for you.
Becca January 12, 2014 at 05:10 PM
@Ronald I think it is by the posts that Cranston resident makes. Others have said so in posts as he seems very close to the situation!
Jose January 13, 2014 at 12:07 AM
The more I hear from friends in the building, the more it sickens me. I live in on the eastside, have my entire life, and I pay an exorbitant amount in taxes (car, property, sewer) to the city. And while I have a great amount of respect for 95% of the police officers on CPD, it really infuriates me to hear of the downright corruption by members of the administration and their co-conspirators. The targeting and relentless harassing of subordinates because they do their job right and not play the games needs to cease immediately. The cronyism and incestual behavior needs to go away. And most importantly the cancerous employees need to disappear never to be seen again. The mayor needs to find some intestinal fortitude and rid the department of the problems starting at the top (Palombo & Co.) and work all the way down to some of the newest employees who would not know police work if it hit them in the face. Mayor, give the department back to the other 95% and give it back to the citizens of Cranston (ya know, the people who elected you). -JS.
Robert E January 15, 2014 at 04:57 PM
Time to get rid of the police officers bill of rights. Why do police officers get more rights then the citizens they work for. Even if they break the law they don't loose their jobs and do not get charged. http://reason.com/archives/2012/10/19/how-special-rights-for-law-enforcement-m
Elizabeth Roy January 15, 2014 at 08:46 PM
I agree Robert E. They receive big payout pensions to leave the force and shut them up.

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