In Rhode Island those who work in law enforcement are all too often treated with disdain and blamed for everything from taxes to speeding tickets.
Now something is being done to change that.
For the past three years a monument has been growing – the Criminal Justice Hall of Fame – at the Lincoln campus of the Community College of Rhode Island, which is home to the state’s municipal-police training academy. More than two dozen people have been inducted since the Hall of Fame was launched in 2012.
At a planned June 3 ceremony at Warwick’s Crowne Plaza Providence-Warwick hotel, 11 more names were due to be added to the roster.
“We have a good, strong justice system in this state, and that’s because of the work done by dedicated individuals,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. “Hopefully people will recognize these great men and women who are working for the public, and they’ll have more faith in the system.”
The Hall of Fame is largely Kilmartin’s brainchild, but he’s not in charge. A nonprofit has been established, run by a board of trustees, to make the whole thing independent of the attorney general’s office. A nominating committee proposes names to add to the list, and the trustees make the final decision. The nonprofit also solicits donations for a plaque and perhaps some exhibits.
“It shows appreciation and recognition for people who don’t get recognized enough, the men and women who have performed exemplary service in the criminal-justice system,” said Col. Steven O’Donnell of the R.I. State Police, who sits on the board of trustees.
The Hall is located on the Lincoln campus in part to inspire those training to become police officers. “Those who are studying there will be seeing the names of people they should emulate, people who can serve as role models,” O’Donnell said.