2011-06-30 / Front Page

Town Council hires Edward Mello as police chief of Jamestown


Edward Mello Edward Mello The Town Council voted unanimously to name Edward Mello the next police chief of Jamestown during a special meeting on Monday afternoon.

“I want to assure you that I will approach this responsibility with the same integrity, diligence, vigor and honesty that I have applied for the past 23 years,” Mello said following the announcement on June 27.

Mello, 43, is currently the police chief in Westerly, having held that position since 2004. He has spent his entire 23-year career in law enforcement with the Westerly department. He will take over for longtime chief Thomas Tighe, who is officially retiring today after 44 years on the job. Tighe has held the top position in Jamestown since 1992.

“The search committee believes that with a proven track record overseeing 49 sworn offi- cers, Chief Mello will bring signifi cant leadership capabilities to the Jamestown Police Department,” said Town Administrator Bruce Keiser. Keiser was part of the search committee that also included former Town Council presidents David Long and Julio DiGiando and Charlestown Police Chief Jack Shippee.

Reportedly Mello was chosen from a field of about 45 candidates. Lt. Angela Deneault, who is Jamestown’s acting police chief while Mello ties up loose ends in Westerly, said she did not apply for the job.

Mello has served as a volunteer

EMT for two decades and as the chief financial officer for the Westerly Ambulance Corps. Under his leadership as CFO, he led a fundraiser that helped construct a $2.1 million ambulance facility.

Keiser highlighted Mello’s administrative experience, which includes managing a $4.5 million operating budget. Keiser also commended his facilities management skills, saying that Mello was instrumental in overseeing construction of the $12 million Westerly Police Station.

Mello graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1997 from Roger Williams University. He holds a mas- ter’s degree in administration of criminal justice from Boston University and is a 2005 graduate of the FBI National Academy in Virginia.

Last year, Mello earned just under $100,000 as police chief of Westerly, having signed a contract last spring along with other high-ranking officers that included pay raises. As chief of Jamestown, he is expected to take a cut in pay with his new position. The Jamestown police chief’s salary was $88,544 in fiscal year 2009- 10, $86,028 in fiscal year 2010- 11, and an $80,000 salary for fiscal year 2011-12 was passed at June’s Financial Town Meeting.

Westerly’s population of just less than 23,000 residents is about four times more than Jamestown’s. The Jamestown Police Department has less than half as many officers as Westerly’s department. Mello is not expected to take the helm in Jamestown until after the summer because of a contractual agreement. His contract requires him to give his current department three months notice. “I want to make sure that the department is left very strong,” Mello said. He should join the Jamestown force no later than September.

In January, Mello was sworn in as president of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association. The goal of the organization is to “assist its members and all law enforcement officers in Rhode Island with the administration of public safety and to promote harmony and trust between law enforcement and the public.”

Mello joined the Westerly force as a reserve officer in 1986 and was named an official offi cer two years later. He made sergeant in 1999 and was then promoted to captain before ultimately being appointed chief in August 2004.

He currently lives in Westerly with his wife and their 6-monthold son, Mason. Mello said that he plans to move his family to Jamestown “as soon as we can,” and added that they are currently looking for a home on the island.

“I’m very fortunate and humbled by this decision,” Mello said. “This is the next step in my career and it’s a great opportunity for us. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of Jamestown?”

He added, “I look forward to getting to know members of the community, members of the council, and members of the department.”

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