DAN YORKE – Chiefs take bold stand with Twenty for 2020

DAN YORKE – Chiefs take bold stand with Twenty for 2020

“We did this event and (previously) we told some stakeholders about it. But let me tell you who we didn’t tell. We didn’t tell politicians because we didn’t want (the message) to be clouded. We needed to come out with a direct statement.”

Bold words last week offered in my radio interview with Sid Wordell, former Little Compton police chief and now executive director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association while discussing a news-breaking presentation last week.

In the immediate aftermath of the George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks tragedies, the collective police chiefs in Rhode Island issued Twenty for 2020.

It begins with a statement of principles, the first being: Acknowledgement About the Realities of Police Brutality in the World.

Read that slowly to yourself.

That’s just not easy to do. But they did it. In writing. And with it are principles of defending the profession and commitment to improving training standards. They’ve packed in a lot.

Included is the idea that the police “Bill of Rights” law be updated. Today in Rhode Island, if, God forbid, some officer acted like Derrick Chauvin spending eight minutes and 46 seconds with a knee in George Floyd’s neck, there would be no provision for an immediate firing. Chauvin, of course, was terminated immediately and our country’s reaction was immediate and traumatic. Can you imagine here, with an immediate maximum short-term suspension, what kind of hell could break loose?

To be clear, this is police management talking, not the rank and file. The chiefs, the vast majority of whom have come up through the ranks, have been looking for more authority to pierce the “blue wall” with more transparent discipline for years. Always buried in the legislature for further study and even now with a new higher-powered “study commission,” the chiefs have taken a different route. Skip the politicians and their angles and deals, at least to start, and go direct to the people.

You owe it to yourself to read the twenty promises.

Burrillville finds new Sanctuary issue

Meanwhile last week, one local chief is likely keeping his headache meds close. Burrillville’s Stephen Lynch said all the right things about enforcing the state COVID guidelines that have the effect of law amidst his town council’s declaration of “First Amendment Sanctuary.” A year from the momentum of its “Second Amendment Sanctuary” declaration, the council is once again fighting back against, well, Gina and her “rules.” The Town Council voted 5-2 to not fund its police to enforce the rules. But the chief explained that his department would enforce state law.

Truth is, the curve-lowering and other restrictions installed by the governor have been remarkably mostly executed by the public without policing drama while the movie in the heads of local elected Trumpers plays on.

No Fourth of July 
fireworks gatherings

I’m really going to miss that traffic on Mendon Road on the third and Old River Road on the Fourth. Memo to the folks out there who think they instead deserve a month-long homegrown and quite illegal private fireworks operation:

Not sure what you’re actually celebrating or why it charges you up. There are plenty of sleep-deprived families and their animals holed up in bathtubs shaking in fear who are asking the same. Please knock it off.

May we find a safe, sane way to celebrate our independence this year while we keep washing our hands and wearing our masks. I’m hoping we don’t need the earplugs.

Dan Yorke is the PM Drive Host on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind weeknights on MyRITV/Fox Providence and owns communications/crisis consulting firm DYCOMM LLC.


I read the Police Officers Bill of Rights and it's clear that, if an officer is charged with a felony he/she can be immediately fired. Don't know why you state the opposite. And, it appears to me that most of the issues litigated in the hearings are administrative in nature as it's clear that an officer can be fired for a myriad of issues such as: brutality, domestic violence, untruthfulness, etc.. It's my opinion that problem officers are often shielded by police chiefs and politicians. Look at the Chauvin case - Minneapolis' mayor is a "progressive" as are every member of the city council. If they knew about this man's troubling past, what did they ever do about it? And, if he was such a racist as we are now hearing, why didn't the Chief (who is an African American) take action? Here's the MN bill of rights statute https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/626.89

The RI LEBOR does not allow for the immediate firing of an officer after being charged with a felony. The officer may be suspended with pay and benefits. If the officer is indicted or has an information charge filed, then he/she may be suspended without pay, but keep their benefits in place.
If the officer is convicted and all appeals are exhausted, the officer may then be fired without a hearing taking place.
See 42-28.6-13 of the RI LEBOR for further info.
Hope this clarifies this issue.

You are right; I misread the statute. An officer can be suspended without pay until the case has been adjudicated. However, all of my other points remain; most of the problems we've seen are supervisory in nature as the tail should never wag the dog.