New Woonsocket police chief officially sworn in

Maj. David Lapatin of the Providence Police, right, with Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas F. Oates III at a swearing-in ceremony for Oates, September 22, 2016. (Madeleine Wright | WPRI 12)
Maj. David Lapatin of the Providence Police, right, with Woonsocket Police Chief Thomas F. Oates III at a swearing-in ceremony for Oates, September 22, 2016. (Madeleine Wright | WPRI 12)

WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Former Providence police officer and deputy Chief of Police Thomas F. Oates III was sworn in as the police chief for Woonsocket Thursday morning.

He actually took the helm back at the beginning of August, but the occasion had not been officially marked until now.

About 200 people attended the ceremony at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center, including officers from Woonsocket, Providence, Barrington and other cities.

The city announced their selection of Oates back in July, after Chief Thomas Carey retired in February. Oates, a 36-year veteran in Providence, was picked from 34 applicants.

Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt praised Oates, anticipating that he would bring the department strong and fair leadership.

Chief Oates noted that policing today carries unique new challenges. In a brief speech, he said that as officers are being scrutinized more than ever, it’s more important for police to build close relations with the community and trust — through transparency and integrity.

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