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Hendon Publishing

2005 NAUMD Special Award Winner

Rhode Island State Police
North Scituate, RI

The NAUMD would like to salute Rhode Island and commemorate a special anniversary (1928 - 2006) by presenting the Rhode Island State Police with an 80th Anniversary Commemorative Uniform Award, for the best-dressed officers of Rhode Island.

On April 2, 1925, historic legislation was passed and for the first time the state of Rhode Island would have a highly organized, uniformed statewide law enforcement agency know as the Rhode Island State Police.The people of Rhode Island had never laid eyes on a uniformed state police officer enforcing the law in their state. It was an extremely new concept in law enforcement, one that was severely tested on frequent occasions during the early and formative years. It is difficult now to capture the picture of the first uniformed troopers making their appearance in the rural areas of the state. There were no policy precedents to follow. There were no records upon which they could begin their service. They represented a new and untested concept for enforcing the criminal statutes, and their performance would determine the public value of the state police idea. Retired Colonel Everitte St. John Chaffee of Providence, RI, was appointed as the first superintendent, an appointment undoubtedly influenced by his military command experience. The leadership he demonstrated during military service would be requisite to the formation of a new and elite police agency.

The colonel visited other state police departments. He inquired extensively concerning the kind of mobile and personal equipment, which would best suit the purposes of the new force. A special effort was made to use equipment manufactured in Rhode Island. Native jewelry makers produced the original badges, collar ornaments, and other such items. Motorcycles would be an important factor in the mobility of the new troopers. Thus the famous Police Indian, manufactured in Springfield, MA, became part of the early history of the department. For firearms, the Colt 45 was selected. This choice was probably influenced by the military career of the superintendent as well as the strong Rhode Island ties to the Colt family.Colonel Chaffee was particularly proud to note that Rhode Island products were used whenever possible. As the new troopers donned uniforms for the first time, they were indeed wearing homegrown products. All of the cloth for their uniforms and shirts came from Rhode Island mills. Uniform caps, belts, and other uniform parts were also manufactured within the state, a fact that Rhode Island State Police are still proud to say.

Today the officers of the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) department wear the same uniform of the founding 23 officers. NAUMD salutes this enduring uniform program.

Published in Law and Order, Oct 2005

Rating : 10.0

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