PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It’s been nine months since Mayor Jorge Elorza’s decision to appoint his recreation director to a new high-level police major job sparked backlash, leading to a political controversy and monthslong stalemate between Elorza and the City Council.

The dispute was finally solved this spring, and Michael Stephens is now in a reworked civilian role at the Police Department, making $137,000 a year as the administrator of community relations and diversion services.

In the above episode of Pulse of Providence, Stephens sits down for an exclusive interview about the controversy and the work he hopes to do to improve relationships between the community and the police in Providence.

Also joining Stephens for the interview is Major Kevin Lanni, leader of the newly created community operation and engagement bureau.

Watch the full episode of Pulse of Providence in the video above, or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

Steph Machado ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence, politics and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.