NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Clothing allowances for North Providence police officers are drawing a lot of concern from the Police Chief and some people in town.
Every year, North Providence police officers receive two clothing allowances: $1150 for things like dry cleaning and tailoring their uniforms, and $400 for new supplies.
It is the North Providence Acting Police Chief that is calling out some of his own officers for abusing the system.
As first reported by the Providence Journal on Friday, Chris Pelagio, the Acting Police Chief, has come forward and stated that the money that should be spent on jackets and uniform shirts is actually being used on women’s t-shirts, pants, and $150 sunglasses.
“It’s not fair…for the taxpayer to pick up the bill on items that are outside of the purview, in my opinion, of the intent of the voucher system,” Pelagio said.
The North Providence Mayor also spoke out against the alleged acts: “You can’t allow our officers to utilize this voucher system to purchase their girlfriend’s clothes, to purchase these exotic sunglasses.”
Pelagio said he is now scrutinizing every purchase request, they used to be automatically approved. He said, “these purchase orders were reviewed under our planning and training division. Obviously, at some point, these weren’t being overseen properly.”
On the other hand, Dennis Stone, Union president called the scrutiny of some clothing vouchers unfair.
“One officer purchased a pair of gloves, and they made it sound like it was some brass knuckles kind of gloves with speck in them, no. They’re puncture resistant for needles and stuff like that,” defended Stone.
Pelagio added that some officers have reimbursed the town for any inappropriate purchases.
The union is now filing grievances against the town on behalf of two of its members; they are in the process of arbitration.