High-paid executive’s free rides from RIC police come to a stop after questions

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Questions from the Target 12 Investigators prompted Rhode Island College to put the brakes on rides by RIC police for a $160,000-a-year executive, that at times left two or fewer officers patrolling the 180-acre campus.

On most shifts, three officers serve the RIC population that includes more than 8,000 students, with more than 1,000 of them living in on-campus housing.

According to records provided by RIC, those unarmed officers made more than 2,200 service calls last year, including during holidays, breaks and summer months when student and instructor activity dwindles substantially.

The issues campus police covered ranged from fights in dorm rooms to alleged thefts, and also involved medical assistance, vandalism and traffic accidents.

The campus territory also includes the location for Henry Barnard School and a daycare facility.

Kristy dosReis, RIC’s associate director of communications, did not say whether or not security concerns prompted the college “to discontinue the practice of using police vehicles for transport outside of official business.”

“We will be clarifying our travel policy to reflect that individuals need to make their own travel arrangements and be reimbursed by the college when appropriate,” dosReis said.

Stephen King was hired as interim associate vice president for Information Services last August and according to his one-year contract, he receives an on-campus apartment, meal privileges and access to a vehicle if needed, in addition to his $160,000 salary.

King also gets free on-campus parking for his personal car that’s registered in another state.

dosReis did not say why campus police officers and their patrol cars were tabbed to give King access to a vehicle.

Target 12 recorded King being picked up by RIC police twice in the fall, and the college did not dispute a list of rides and times that indicated police drove King to and from the airport at least 10 times since October.

“We don’t have an official record of these trips so I don’t have a number for you,” dosReis said. “We are not disputing that the rides took place and five round trip rides sounds accurate.”

King did not dispute the rides when reached by email.

“Per the contract, I am entitled to the use of a car,” King said. “In lieu of that, I accepted the offer of rides to [and] from T.F. Green.
Providing transportation during a temporary assignment is a common practice.”

In addition to King’s salary, RIC also paid almost $53,000 to the interim placement firm that connected him with the college.

When asked why the public college would hire someone from out of state for such a high-paying job, dosReis said the national company that was used could draw from a national pool of retired executives and specializes in “high-level interim appointments for higher education institutions.”

“This is a temporary placement,” dosReis said. “We are currently starting the interview process to fill the position permanently and applicants from the New England area are encouraged to apply.”

Send tips to Target 12 Investigator Walt Buteau at wbuteau@wpri.com and follow him on Twitter @wbuteau.