SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) – As Seekonk prepares to cut ties with yet another top cop, Chief Dean Isabella has already drafted his cover letter to the Providence Police Department.
Through a public records request, 12 News obtained a copy of the letter that Isabella sent from his official Seekonk email account to his personal address on January 5. The letter, dated December 29, 2022, reads in part, “I am writing to express my interest in the Chief of Police position at the Providence Police Department and have attached my resume for your review and consideration.”
Isabella told 12 News he never submitted that letter to the city. A city spokesperson told 12 News they have not yet officially opened up the application process, and the city has not received any applications.
Isabella said he had no plans to leave Seekonk, and the cover letter was simply a draft he kept on hand, despite it being dated Dec. 29. Isabella said he updated it specifically for the Providence position only after he learned he was being placed on leave by Seekonk on January 5.
12 News confirmed on Friday that Isabella had been placed on leave. On Tuesday, Town Administrator Shawn Cadime said the town’s Board of Selectmen plans to rescind Isabella’s appointment.
Isabella took over as Seekonk chief in December 2020. Former police chief Frank John was placed on leave in 2019, but held the position for only a few months following the resignation of former chief Craig Mace in 2018. Christopher Mackenzie was initially appointed to replace John, but Cadime rescinded the offer and appointed Isabella instead.
In a statement to 12 News this week, Cadime said the town feels the police department needs a “directional shift.”
“The Police department requires a leader who understands the community, the organization, and most importantly the brand that our men and women in the Seekonk Police Department have worked so hard to promote,” Cadime wrote. “While it is never the intention to shorten an employment contract, high level positions within the town pose their own challenges which require any separation to be done respectfully and quickly.”
“We are deeply grateful for Chief Isabella’s service over the last two years and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Cadime added.
Reached by phone Tuesday night, Isabella told 12 News he’s retained an attorney and contends Seekonk has no cause to rescind the contract or terminate him.
Isabella believes the town’s decision to part ways with him was based on a GoLocalProv report in December which labelled Isabella a contender for the now-vacant Providence police chief position.
“There’s a lot of rumors,” GoLocal quoted Isabella as saying. “I haven’t been contacted about the position — I’m honored that anyone would consider me for [it]. I’m happy of being the Chief in Seekonk. It’s been a great opportunity.”
The article also referenced a 1998 incident where Isabella was accused of misappropriating $3,100 from the Providence Police Department’s account when he was employed there.
The incident was extensively reported at the time, including by the Providence Journal, which published a story on October 30 of that year detailing Isabella’s plea.
“As part of a plea agreement, the former head of the Police Department’s License Enforcement Unit pleaded no contest yesterday…” the Journal wrote. “Unlike most no-contest pleas, Dean R. Isabella did not acknowledge that he did anything wrong. As a result of the agreement, Isabella loses his sergeant’s rank but not his job.”
At the time, according to the Providence Journal, Isabella “argued that he had written the checks for legitimate purposes and never deposited them in a personal account.”
Isabella said Seekonk was aware of the incident when they hired him.
Isabella told 12 News he would consider applying to replace Col. Hugh Clements in Providence now that Seekonk is terminating him.
“Providence, to me, would be going home,” he said.