PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When he came to the U.S. from Colombia shortly before turning 13, Oscar Perez had a lot to learn — from a new language to getting used to snowy winters.
He’s now the Providence police chief, rising to the top job after nearly 30 years on the force. He became a dad his first year on the job, and has worked in a variety of bureaus from narcotics to community policing, all while being promoted from patrolman all the way up to colonel.
He’s fired his service weapon on duty on two occasions, including the deadly highway shooting on I-95 in 2017, when both Providence officers and State Police troopers fired at a suspect, who died. (The shooting was later deemed justified by a grand jury.)
Perez becomes chief at a time when recruitment is down, and conversations about policing are changing around the country.
In this episode of Pulse of Providence, Perez tells his personal story of growing up in South Providence, his experience on the force thus far and his plans for the department.
Watch the full episode in the video above, and highlights from the interview below.
Steph Machado (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence, politics and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.
Pulse of Providence: Col. Oscar Perez is the city's new police chief – Pulse of Providence
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