Chief Lawton honored at Scituate Police Station

Chief Lawton honored at Scituate Police Station

Members of the 100 Club of Rhode Island donate a $1,000 check and a plaque naming the Scituate Police Department in honor of former Police Chief William J. G. Lawton. From left, Reggie Centracchio, Mike Donatelli, Joseph Terino, SPD Chief Eric Rollinson, Scituate Town Council President Abbie Groves and Anthony Donatelli. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SCITUATE – Final pieces are coming together at the Scituate Police Department, where the 100 Club of Rhode Island has donated a plaque in honor of the station’s namesake, former Chief William J.G. Lawton, as well as a $1,000 donation.

A glass plaque naming the station in honor of Lawton is now hung in the lobby below a picture of the late police chief, who died in 2015.

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Lawton served as chief in Scituate from 1971 to 1990, previously serving with at the Providence Police Department from 1948 to 1968. According to his obituary, he was known for his sense of humor.

Chief Eric Rollinson, a teenager when Lawton was leading, remembers Lawton running the department, fondly recalling how he maintained a presence around town.

“He was a solid man, a great officer, someone you could look up to in town,” Rollinson said.

Referencing a photo of Lawton holding a phone to his ear while maintaining a stern expression, Rollinson said his appearance was deceiving.

“He looks tough but he was also a really nice guy,” he said.

The Scituate Town Council voted unanimously in September 2019 to name the station after the late chief. Councilor James Brady, who served on the Scituate Police Department, said naming the station in Lawton’s honor was a cause “near and dear” to his heart. Anthony Donatelli, of the 100 Club, expressed the same sentiments about Lawton.

“He was a great guy. He looked stern but that was the job. Once you got to know him you loved him. Everybody did,” Donatelli said.

According to 100 Club President Joseph Terino, the club raises money for scholarships for children of police officers and firefighters, donates money to families of fallen officers and first responders, and supports the opening of new departments.

Terino said that the SPD may use the $1,000 toward anything the department needs. He said when the North Providence Public Safety Complex opened, the 100 Club donated $2,000, or $1,000 each for police and fire, which was used to purchase exercise equipment.

Rollinson said he is grateful for the donation and has not yet decided how to use the money.

Since moving into the new station, Rollinson said staff has worked out a few kinks in the building. He said everything is looking and working well so far, and he has no complaints.

Councilor Abbie Groves thanked the 100 Club for the support.

“Scituate is extremely grateful,” she said.