PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Pawtucket is moving to fire a police officer who was acquitted of all charges last month in the off-duty shooting of a teenager in West Greenwich.
Pawtucket Mayor Don Grebien released a statement Thursday morning saying that even though Dolan was found not guilty, it “does not mean that an officer’s conduct was appropriate or that it represented the high standards to which we hold our public safety officials.”
The proposed firing is not guaranteed. Under the R.I. Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, Dolan has a right for the termination to be considered by a three-member disciplinary panel of current or former law enforcement officers.
“Trust in our public officials, both elected and appointed, is critical to our country’s ongoing pursuit of a more perfect union. In particular, our faith and trust in those we employ to protect our public safety and enforce our laws are paramount to our community’s ability to thrive,” Grebien wrote. “When that trust is challenged, it is vital that our institutions rise to the moment and meet those challenges.”
Dolan, 40, had been charged with felony assault after shooting then-18-year-old Dominic Vincent outside a pizza shop in June 2021.
In court, Dolan said he saw Vincent speeding on I-95 and followed him into the parking lot to talk to him, saying he felt obligated to intervene.
He testified that when Vincent put the car in reverse and tried to drive off, he drew his gun out of fear he was going to be run over.
Vincent told police he tried to drive off because he wasn’t sure what was going on and didn’t know Dolan was a police officer, since Dolan was wearing normal clothes and was in his personal vehicle.
“I fully support our men and women in law enforcement. I am grateful for the work that the Pawtucket Police do every single day to protect the well-being of all residents and visitors in our great city. I know, however, that they share my high standards and expectations for honorable service,” Grebien said.
“One officer’s actions do not define a profession, however, what we allow, tolerate, and excuse casts a cloud over all,” he continued. “The City of Pawtucket and its Police Department will not allow or enable behavior that jeopardizes our ability to protect the community we serve and protect.”
Dolan was suspended without pay following his arrest, but after he was acquitted, his status was changed to suspended with pay, as stated in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR). He is also able to receive back pay for the time he went unpaid.
“LEOBOR has restricted what the Pawtucket Police Department can release publicly,” Grebien wrote. “However, as of today, the department can now move forward with these disciplinary proceedings as the statutory provisions allow.”
Dolan’s attorney, Michael Colucci, released a statement to 12 News saying it’s “unfortunate that the outcome has been predetermined in the eyes of the administration.”
“That is fundamentally unfair and may speak to why so many in the profession are leaving or failing to apply to become police officers,” Colucci wrote.
“As to the underlying criminal case, protecting the lives of the motoring public, wherever they may be found, seems to be the hallmark of honorable service,” he added. “The one thing that will never be known, is just how many lives were saved by officer Dolan’s decision to get involved.”