Public safety officials organizing charity basketball game

Public safety officials organizing charity basketball game

NORTH PROVIDENCE – After attending the local charity flag football game in November of 2017 between the North Providence and Johnston Fire Departments, Chief David Tikoian said he began considering creation of an event that would benefit a nonprofit in town.

Last month, he approached Mayor Charles Lombardi and Fire Chief John Silva with the idea of a charity basketball game between North Providence Police and Fire Departments, and both immediately offered support for such an event.

Upon assuming command of the North Providence Police Department two years ago, Tikoian said one initiative he had was to have police officers and firefighters conduct trainings together. No greater example of this was the active shooter training conducted last April, with another such training scheduled for this spring.

“My thought was a charity basketball game would be a great event for our respective agencies to work collaboratively, not only on a professional level but also on a community-based civic event that would benefit the community,” he said.

He said he’s always been a proponent of working together with various agencies on federal, state and municipal levels, and doesn’t believe the most optimal time for personnel to meet is during an emergency or crisis.

An event such as this has so many benefits, he said. In addition to the obvious one of raising funds for a cause, it also builds strong, positive relationships between police and fire professionals. It provides an opportunity for public safety personnel to interact “at a non-stressful, non-emergency venue,” he said, relaxing with each other while benefiting the community.

Assistant Fire Marshal Marc Rizzo is representing fire personnel in spearheading the effort to establish such an event, while Sgt. Christopher Puleo is doing the same on the police side. Deputy Chief Arthur Martins has agreed to be the coach of the North Providence Police Department team. 

The agencies are planning to hold the charity game at North Providence High School on Thursday, March 28, with doors opening at 5:15 and the game starting at 6 p.m.. Proceeds from the event will benefit Tri-Town Community Action Agency, which provides needed social services to town residents. Tikoian plans to ask those who attend to give a donation to the cause.

“I’m confident this will be an exciting event for police and fire professionals, their families and the community to support,” said Tikoian.