NORTH PROVIDENCE – A veteran police officer in North Providence is out of a job after he was caught spending hundreds of hours at home while he was supposed to be on the job.
Two department sources said that Gerald Fuscellaro was facing potential prosecution by but agreed to resign and pay restitution to the town instead.
A tip from a resident led to an inquiry into Fuscellaro, and that investigation found him spending more than 800 hours at home on Salem Drive when he was supposed to be working. He was thus found to have accepted some $25,000 he wasn’t entitled to. According to one source, the hours paid for time at home stretched over two years.
Chief of Police Alfredo Ruggiero Jr. told The Breeze after an inquiry that Fuscellaro “voluntarily left the agency under his own accord,” but with restrictions in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, said Ruggiero, “I can’t make a statement” beyond that.
Ruggiero confirmed that Fuscellaro began with the department in 2005 and that he had 17.6 years of experience when he officially resigned on May 17.
Lt. Tom Jones, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 13, said he had no comment on Fuscellaro’s resignation.
Mayor Charles Lombardi wouldn’t confirm or deny when asked specifics about the allegations against Fuscellaro.
“You seem to have all of this information already, why are you asking me?” he said.
Town labor attorney Vincent Ragosta did not return calls for comment.
The North Providence Police Department has had its share of controversies over the years, including:
• Officer Scott Feeley keeping his job despite dozens of departmental infractions this year, following a 2-1 vote by a LEOBOR panel;
• Former Chief Chris Pelagio being suspended and losing his job over multiple incidents and accusations, including harassment of Lt. Diana Perez and an altercation with an officer in Cranston;
• Multiple accusations against and a suspension for Lt. Dennis Stone, including confrontations with Pelagio, wearing his uniform while testifying at a town meeting, failing to serve subpoenas in an assault case, and omitting facts in getting a warrant to arrest another resident, which that resident said led to his assault by police;
• Former Chief John Whiting serving prison time and resigning after his 2012 conviction for stealing $714 from a woman he’d followed in a high-speed chase from Pawtucket after she’d allegedly cut him off during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, and then trying to solicit a Pawtucket officer to cover it up;
• And former Sgt. Michael Ciresi receiving a 20-year sentence for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, receiving stolen goods, harboring a criminal, attempted theft and obstructing justice after the robbery of a drug dealer’s apartment in Pawtucket in 2004, among others.