Officer Silva says helping people is the best part of his job
"If you want to be a good police officer, you have to like people," Silva says. "And, when you like people, they like you back."
Silva believes that the best part of his job is the interaction with people. He enjoys having the opportunity to help people every day.
Silva's fellow officers describe him as calm, cool and collected. "Rui never gets flustered," fellow officer Tiffany Kopacz said. "He is forthcoming, unbiased, and always stays calm in every situation."
Officer Silva greets everyone with a smile. "It's important to stay positive and treat everybody fairly and equally. A good police officer is never condescending," Silva said. He finds that being friendly makes people relax and usually defuses tense situations.
"My father was a police offi cer," Silva said. "He was my inspiration for just about everything." When Silva was 8 years old, his father moved the family from the Cape Verde Islands to the United States. "He wanted us to have a better life, and he thought the United States offered the best opportunities for his children," Silva said.
He remembers his father telling him that in this country he could be whatever he wanted to be. All he had to do was work hard and take advantage of opportunities when they were presented to him.
"He was right," Silva said. "I spent nearly seven years in the U. S. Navy. That was a great opportunity. I was discharged with the rank of Bowswain's Mate Third Class. Then the GI bill paid for my education, another great opportunity."
Silva earned an associate's degree from CCRI on the GI Bill, and then went on to Rhode Island College where he majored in criminal justice and political science. He still goes to school and is just a couple of credits away from a double bachelor's degree.
"I plan on continuing my education," Silva said. "The department pays for us to take work related courses." He said that he will get his master's degree in criminal justice, or study law.
When Silva was in the Navy, he served in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. After he was discharged, he went to college and joined the National Guard where he served with the military police. He also worked in security at Johnson and Wales University. "Becoming a police officer was just a natural progression of my studies and work," Silva said.
Silva celebrated his first year with the department last month. He was recruited by Police Chief Thomas Tighe through the regional testing, six-town cooperative police hiring program. After passing the test and interview, Silva graduated sixth in his class at the Police Academy in Lincoln.
After moving to Rhode Island, Silva spent the rest of his childhood in East Providence where he grew up as the middle child of five children.
He graduated from East Providence High School in 1995 and now lives in Pawtucket with his fiancée, Frances Tecia Pinto, who runs a group home for girls. They have two children, a daughter, Mayana, 4, and a son, Gabriel, 1.
When Silva isn't on duty, he spends time with his family. "Family is everything," Silva said. "Nothing is more rewarding than growing up with my children." He said that after he puts his children to bed and when his fiancé is busy, he secretly likes to watch "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted" on television.
Silva and his fiancée have an important event to look forward to in the coming year. They are getting married on Valentine's Day at the Fall River Country Club.