O’Donnell: Next colonel should be an inside hire

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Governor Gina Raimondo’s next Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police should be should be someone from the ranks of the organization, according to the outgoing colonel.

The Target 12 Investigators have learned Raimondo is considering outside candidates to become the 13th superintendent of the state police.

In a wide-ranging interview, Col. Steven O’Donnell said he is putting his support behind Lt. Col. Kevin Barry to take the job.

“I don’t know that you will find anybody that will be better than the inside,” O’Donnell said during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers. “There will certainly be great candidates that come in from all over the country, but Kevin Barry is the person that has applied for the job, that wants to be the colonel.”

He added, “I know the rank and file in the state police support him, the retired people support him.”

O’Donnell’s announcement last week that he was retiring caught many by surprise. Asked if he was leaving sooner than he expected, O’Donnell said “yes.”

“I woke up and was questioning myself and caught myself; using the analogy of being an athlete of ‘did I lose a step?'” O’Donnell said. “No special reason no smoking gun, it’s just a cumulative effect.”

O’Donnell said there was nothing about the job he disliked, but would get frustrated at how slow state government can work.

“You can’t get things done as fast as you want,” O’Donnell said. “For instance: if we’re building buildings and we’re trying for five years, there is an exhaustive process.”

He added, “The system is set up stymies you not police wise but the administrative end of the job.”

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