Tikoian sworn in as police chief, pledges to be accessible and visible

Tikoian sworn in as police chief, pledges to be accessible and visible

Mayor Charles Lombardi, left, and North Providence’s new police chief, David Tikoian, share a salute after Tikoian was sworn in as the new police chief on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Tikoian’s mother, Ann Tikoian, is in the middle. The ceremony took place at North Providence High School. (Breeze photos by Robert Emerson)

NORTH PROVIDENCE – The auditorium of North Providence High School was overflowing with residents and filled with a sense of optimism during the swearing-in of David Tikoian as the town’s new police chief last Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Tikoian, 49, a retired Rhode Island State Police major, was sworn in by Mayor Charles Lombardi in front of hundreds of people, including government officials, law enforcement officers, local residents and members of his family.

“Our police department has great potential. My goal is to have one of the most professional and respectable police departments in the state of Rhode Island, and I’m sure that Maj. Tikoian will accomplish this goal,” said Lombardi. “Ladies and gentlemen, our residents deserve nothing less.”

Tikoian’s appointment comes after years of issues in the North Providence Police Department. Former Chief of Police John Whiting resigned in 2014 after he was found guilty of stealing $714 from a woman, and Lombardi suspended Acting Chief Chris Pelagio this summer after he was involved in an altercation with an officer in Cranston, among other issues.

Tikoian, officials said last week, represents an opportunity for the town to have a fresh start with its police department.

Opportunity is a concept that holds great significance to Tikoian. An Armenian-American, his grandparents survived the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and came to the United States as orphans.

“My grandparents survived the genocide and made it to the United States to provide opportunity for their children. As a result of that opportunity given to my parents, they instill in my brothers and I how important it is to work hard, be dedicated, and contribute to your community in a positive way,” he said.

The new chief told residents how much he values community outreach.

“I intend to become part of the fabric of this town by being accessible and visible in the community,” he said. “I realize how important it is to be available and personally interact with our residents.”

In fact, he said that he recently stumbled upon a flyer for a summer concert in Notte Park and planned to attend.

His speech was met with a standing ovation from the crowd, which Chief of Staff Dick Fossa noted was the largest crowd he had ever seen for a swearing-in ceremony.

Because of assistance for the evening from R.I. State Police, the majority of the North Providence Police Department was able to attend the event. Officers lined the walls of the auditorium as they watched their new chief have his badge pinned on by his mother, Ann Tikoian.

Speakers all emphasized a common theme when they addressed the room: Tikoian’s exemplary character.

“I am confident Dave will lead our police department with honesty, integrity, and responsibility. … There’s no doubt in my mind that Dave will make the tough decisions with determination, compassion, honor, and courage,” said the mayor.

Peter Neronha, former U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, said Tikoian has the temperament, experience, and integrity to do an exemplary job. He pointed out that throughout his impressive career, Tikoian has managed to remain humble.

“He’s accomplished so much, and done it so quietly,” said Neronha.

Dean Hoxsie, president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, said Tikoian has always been professional and reliable, meeting everyone with a handshake and a smile.

He said that with all the difficult things that will wind up on his desk, Tikoian can always depend on the association as a resource and helping hand.

“You’ll find at the end of the day, and there will be long days, that there is nothing else you would want to be doing, and while your new position has many challenges, it has great rewards,” he said.

Among the dignitaries at the swearing-in ceremony last Tuesday, Aug. 22, were two former governors with whom Tikoian had professional relationships. From left, former Gov. Lincoln Almond and his wife Marilyn, Charles Compton, granson of former Gov. Donald Carcieri and his wife Susan. The ceremony took place at North Providence High School.
North Providence Police Chief David P. Tikoian, has a few words with his mother, Ann Tikoian, before walking into the North Providence High School auditorium for his swearing-in ceremony. Mayor Charles Lombardi is to the right and former U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha is in the background.
North Providence Police Chief David Tikoian addresses the audience after he is sworn in.

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We wish you success and good policing in N Providence.