PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The back and forth between Providence’s mayor and Rhode Island’s governor about having state police help city police address the recent uptick in violent crime continued on Friday.
In a phone conference Friday morning, Mayor Jorge Elorza called Gov. Dan McKee’s recent letter about the proposed partnership “odd,” saying talks between the two law enforcement agencies have been ongoing.
There were multiple incidents of violence last weekend, including a drive-by shooting that killed an innocent bystander, followed by a woman reportedly being pulled out of her vehicle and beaten during a run-in with a group of ATV and dirt bike riders.
Elorza acknowledged those incidents but insisted that overall, crime is down in the capital city.
On Thursday, Providence City Council President John Igliozzi sent a letter to McKee asking him to activate the Rhode Island State Police Neighborhood Response Team. McKee has offered their services on multiple occasions but said Elorza hasn’t accepted the help.
That’s not the case, according to Elorza.
“Really odd to me that he would say that he’s going to direct his police chief to talk to my police chief,” the mayor said. “So it strikes me as he is either being disingenuous or he doesn’t know what his own police department is doing.”
Elorza said Providence police and state police have already been engaged in talks and held a meeting Friday morning.
He also said he’s looking for state resources to bolster their efforts to crack down on the illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets. Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré mirrored that sentiment in an interview Friday with 12 News.
“We will take their offer of assistance in trying to combat this scourge of ATVs that are running in and around the city,” Paré said.
The City Council has scheduled an emergency meeting next Tuesday, Aug. 10, to discuss addressing the recent increase in violent crimes and enforcing the ATV and dirt bike ordinance.