Raimondo chooses Capt. Ann Assumpico to lead RI State Police

First woman to lead law-enforcement agency; previously served as ACI, Coventry officer

WPRI/Susan Campbell
WPRI/Susan Campbell

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Gov. Gina Raimondo plans to appoint current R.I. State Police Capt. Ann Assumpico as the law-enforcement agency’s next leader, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

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Capt. Ann Assumpico

Assumpico, 59, will be the first woman to lead the storied agency in its 91-year history and will become the 13th superintendent of the state police.

Assumpico, a Rhode Island native, has been in law enforcement for nearly 40 years. She got her start as a corrections officer at the Adult Correctional Institution, where she served for eight years, and then became an officer in Coventry for seven years. In 1992 she was sworn in as a trooper with the Rhode Island State Police.

Assumpico – who is a fifth-degree black belt – joined the command staff in 2015 when she was promoted to captain and, as director of training, placed in charge of the state police and municipal training academies. She holds degrees from Roger Williams University and Salve Regina University.

Assumpico succeeds Col. Steven O’Donnell, who recently stepped down after five years in the position.

The Rhode Island Senate would need to confirm Assumpico as the director of the Department of Public Safety, though not as state police colonel. If the governor wants to separate the two positions, an idea she has floated in the past, the legislature would need to approve the move.

Mike Raia, a spokesperson for Raimondo, declined to comment and would not confirm the appointment.

The governor is expected to make a formal announcement on Thursday.

The Department of Public Safety oversees the state police, capitol police, Department of Sheriffs, the 911 system, the Fire Marshal’s Office and the Municipal Police Training Academy.

The General Assembly created the Department of Public Safety in 2007 and placed most of those agencies under its umbrella. The sheriffs were brought in four years later. Advocates said they wanted to consolidate resources and move law enforcement entities out of the Department of Administration.

O’Donnell’s retirement became official on Sept. 23. Lt. Col. Kevin Barry was tapped to replace him on an interim basis.

O’Donnell had served as state police colonel as well as Department of Public Safety commissioner since 2011, when he was appointed by then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee to succeed Brendan Doherty. Raimondo opted to reappoint O’Donnell soon after she won the governor’s office in 2014.

O’Donnell accepted a new job as head of the Greater Providence YMCA last month.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook