Town Council appoints interim police chief

Thu, 02/25/2021 - 5:45pm

The Town Council appointed R.I. State Police Captain Matthew Moynihan as the interim chief of the New Shoreham Police Department at its Feb. 17 virtual meeting. Moynihan will start on March 1, succeeding Chief Vincent Carlone, who announced his retirement in December 2020.

“In recent weeks I have been working with Colonel James Manni of the R.I. State Police in the transition to a new police chief,” Town Manager Maryanne Crawford told the council. “Vin Carlone will continue to work for the town until April 14, wrapping up some ongoing island work and court cases.

“Chief Carlone has completed forty years of service in law enforcement, a remarkable accomplishment in stressful times, and the last seventeen as police chief here on Block Island,”Crawford continued. “His polished, professional commitment to the residents and visitors of our fast growing island has been universal.”

“You’re getting one of the best commanders I have,” said Col. Manni, the head of the R.I. State Police. He summarized Moynihan’s 24 years with the department:

“[Moynihan] is currently the district commander in the Uniform Division, which is in charge of 150 state troopers in uniform…. Capt. Moynihan has not only served in the Uniform Bureau, but also in the Detective Bureau, which would be a very useful tool to have on the island. The most important tool is that he formed a traffic safety unit in November 2019 which was a partnership with the R.I. Department of Transportation and the State Police,” said Manni. He added that Moynihan was one of the troopers working on the island in the summer of 2020.

Moynihan will serve as interim chief from Monday, March 1 to Saturday, May 1, and “hopefully a new chief can be installed shortly after and take it from there,” said Manni. He also pointed out that Moynihan will be coming out to the island “at no costs to the town”, and that the State Police will station two troopers on the island this coming summer, continuing the RISP’s commitment to assist the town’s police force during the island’s busiest season.

Second Warden Sven Risom made a motion to accept Crawford’s recommendation to appoint Moynihan as interim police chief, “with all the assistance of Colonel Manni and the State Police as needed.” The motion was passed unanimously by the four councilors present. First Warden Andre Boudreau was absent.

Decision for transit service tabled to March 1

With Boudreau not present, and recusals from Councilors Martha Ball and Mark Emmanuelle, the council had an insufficient quorum to vote on the selection of a provider for a pilot public transportation program in the summer of 2021. The two alternatives before the council were developed by the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority and by the town’s Commission on Motor Vehicles for Hire and island taxi owners. 

RIPTA’s service would use two trolley-style buses, 35 feet long and nine feet wide. With current pandemic restrictions, the bus would be limited to 20 passengers. The proposal presented by taxi owner Judy Clark and MVFH Chair Brad Marthens would use a standard 12- or 15-passenger van, 21 feet long and six feet wide.

Risom tabled the item to the March 1 meeting. Crawford reminded the council that RIPTA was looking to the town for a decision on its proposal by early March, in order to start preparing for shuttle operations by mid-June.

“I think at this point, continuing to March 1 will be okay. I think they have a little bit of wiggle room,” said Crawford.

Covid-19 Update from Health Services

Later in the meeting, Block Island Medical Center Director Dr. Tom Warcup joined the Zoom call to provide a Covid-19 update to the council.

“We have had a terrific last couple of weeks in the state and surrounding New England region. Rhode Island’s seven-day positive rate is down to 2.7 percent– that’s the lowest it’s been in quite some time. In April it was at 16.4; that [decline is] quite impressive,” said Warcup.

Addressing the process of vaccinating the Block Island resident population, Warcup said: “We’ve had huge success with obtaining greater allotments of Covid-19 vaccines. A big thank you to Senator [Susan] Sosnowski, Representative [Blake] Filippi and all of the community members that advocated for the Block Island community” with the state government, said Warcup.

Hearings set for moped ordinance amendments, license renewals

Risom made a motion to set the hearing date for moped license renewals for Thursday, March 4 at 7 p.m. The motion passed unanimously by the council. The council will be meeting the same day at 12 p.m. to consider changes to the moped ordinance.