Google cash OK'd for Notte Park police substation

Google cash OK'd for Notte Park police substation

Two new officers to staff park summers, become resource officers during school year

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice have given verbal approval to a proposal from the North Providence Police Department to build a new police substation and add two new police officers at the Notte Park/Camp Meehan property.

The new officers will bring an added benefit to local schools, serving as school resource officers during the academic year, according to Chief Paul Martellini. One will serve in the elementary schools and one will serve in the middle schools.

Martellini said he's long wanted to restore some of the community policing initiatives that were in North Providence when he first came here, and the Google money will allow his department to do just that.

Writing up a "creative" proposal that also gets officers into the schools, for additional relationship building with youth and added security, is a "win-win" situation for everyone in the town, said Martellini.

Mayor Charles Lombardi praised the proposal this week, saying Martellini did the right thing in seeking approval for a substation.

"We're going to dedicate those officers strictly for the betterment of recreation and education," said Lombardi.

The approval from the Department of Justice is for an expenditure of $299,904 out of the Police Department's $60 million winnings from a 2012 settlement with Google. It allows the new officers to stay employed with the town as long as there's a detail at Notte Park.

Building a new substation at the town's newly expanded park facilities gives the local officials the chance to monitor the 20-acre park without adding a financial burden to the taxpayers of North Providence, according to Lombardi.

The approved spending also paves the way for town officials to get adequate electricity and fiber optics up Douglas Avenue to Notte Park, connecting the new substation with the main police station on Mineral Spring Avenue.

Adding officers will allow the North Providence Police Department to put more resources back into patrolling the town's neighborhoods, said Lombardi. Pulling officers away from their regular duties to walk the schools "really shortened us up on the street," said the mayor.

According to Martellini, the two new officers to be hired will cost a little more than $82,000 apiece per year, including benefits. The remainder of the $299,904 will be a one-time expenditure on items like computers and furnishings for a "community storefront," electrical upgrades, and fiber optics for security cameras, said Martellini.

The officers will permanently be housed at Camp Meehan/Notte Park, said Martellini, allowing them to engage with town residents and community groups in a way they haven't been able to do in a long time.

Officials from the Department of Justice are currently reviewing how they want to handle approving pay for officers after the first year of employment, said Martellini, but he's been assured that the town will not be bearing the burden of paying for them.

The new manned substation at Notte Park/Camp Meehan is the third expenditure approved by the Department of Justice from the North Providence Police Department's $60 million windfall won last year as part of a settlement with Google over illegal advertising practices.

Justice officials earlier this year approved $20.6 million to fix the town's ailing police pension fund and later gave the nod to the $1.26 million purchase of a fleet of 32 new police vehicles.

Comments

Since when has the mayor been concerned with not having enough officers in the neighborhoods and on the streets. If I'm not mistaken he's reduced the number of officers and i heard he wants to cut more. This town is no longer the safe and quiet little town it once was. I like the idea of the school officers but I'd really like to see more police presence on the streets

I know math is not a favorite subject of the Mayor or Police Chief but Google money pays for the facility, the tax payers pay for the legacy $164K per year for the park cops aka school puppies police.
The Mayor will be asking for the park to be renamed to his name next. What about all of the depalicaded parks we have now, what is happening to them, nothing. We are being lead astray be the handling of the Google money by people that are not financially capable, this administration is an example of spend and tax, that is not what we need in NP.

Are you kidding me!!!! Now we are going to blow another 300k for an unneeded substation for a police officer to walk around a park all day for the tune of 82k a year? where do I sigh up for that job. What a joke this administration is. As soon as there is money available they will find a way to blow it all. They already blew a wad of the money on 32 new police vehicles. Has anyone ever considered getting more years out of what we already have. My vehicle is 11 years old, has 220k miles and still looks and rides like new with proper maintenance. I have an idea, how about getting rid of the ridiculous car tax with its unheard of vehicle evaluations or reducing the insane real estate taxes. NP is becoming a second rate town. Time for me to move.