Colonel Ann C. Assumpico formally sworn in Monday as Rhode Island's new state police superintendent

RISP First Colonel

Amid a swirl of pomp and ceremony that included bagpipers, drummers, three of her predecessors and most of the state's elected officials, Col. Ann C. Assumpico was formally sworn Monday as the new state police superintendent.  An audience of more than 500 people, dozens of them in the uniforms of Rhode Island's local police departments, filled a third-floor ballroom at the Convention Center to witness Assumpico's swearing in.  Gov. Gina N. Raimondo promoted Assumpico in November from captain in charge of the state police training.  The governor said that training experience meant the new superintendent would be well-positioned to improve the department's recruiting diversity while, after nearly a quarter-century in the department, being able to address its other needs as well.  "This is a woman who has decades of experience and knows how to do the job," Raimondo said.  The 11 a.m. ceremony, which included an honor guard and the drums and bagpipers of the Rhode Island Highlanders Pipe Band, lasted more than an hour.  Assumpico remained for more than an hour after that to stand in a receiving line to accept congratulations and pose for pictures with well-wishers.  Those who spoke included Raimondo, Assumpico's brother-in-law and two of her mentors, former state warden Albert Gardner and retired state police superintendent Edmond S. Culhane.  Assumpico is the first woman chosen to head the state police, capping a so-far 24-year career with the force.  Before joining the state police Assumpico, 59, was a corrections officer at the Adult Correctional Institutions and a Coventry police officer.  Her predecessor, Steven G. O'Donnell, also started as a corrections officer.  Gardner told of the time he was directing the corrections department's training program and Assumpico was one of his trainees.  The class had to rappel down the side of the tower at the state police firefighting training center.  "Her eyes y.  were as big as saucers," Gardner said, recalling the look on Assumpico's face when told she had to leap out of the tower window.  "But she did it over and over until she was laughing on the way down," he said.  Her brother-in-law Arthur L. Serpa said no one who knew her questioned her drive, but said she also has compassion.  He remembered a time when she had issued a traffic citation that could have cost a man his license, and the ability to get to work at Electric Boat.  She went to the hearing, he said, and asked the judge allow the man to be able to drive to and from work.  Assumpico spoke of how, when she started in law enforcement, the chances of a woman leading the state police had seemed remote.  But she said her ascension sent a message to all potential recruits that with competence and a willingness to work, it was possible.  She noted that in the audience of hundreds who filled the Convention Center Ballroom for the ceremony were beside law enforcement officers, senators, congressmen, mayors and judges.  She said that showed that the state police was not the province of one colonel, but that it is entwined with other agencies and organizations.  "This position is not held by one person alone," she said.

2/2/17

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