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Providence Police Chief Clements To Head DOJ's COPS Office

Providence, R.I., Police Chief Hugh T. Clements Jr. will be the new director of the Justice Department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. “I am confident that Chief Clements’s leadership will further enable the COPS Office to continue its important work to keep our communities safe and build trust and mutual respect between police and communities, and I look forward to working alongside him,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland. Clements told the Boston Globe, "It’s an awesome responsibility and an opportunity to make a huge impact on the profession in a global way." Under Clements and his predecessor, Dean Esserman, the Providence Police Department built a regional and national reputation for leadership in innovative policing strategies. Twenty years ago, the department underwent a massive restructuring by employing community policing strategies throughout the ranks. It led much of New England in adopting body-worn cameras for all officers, forged partnerships with community groups and mental health agencies, changed its approach on responding to people with mental illnesses, and became a teaching department for other agencies.


“We’ve always been open to special projects and the think-tank initiatives,” Clements said. “I’ve not only done it, but along the way, we had proven results and proven success.” Clements will lead COPS Office after 37 years with the Providence Police Department, where he rose through the ranks to spend the last 11 years as its chief. Clements led the department’s focus on community policing and has worked closely with law enforcement, civil rights, and community organizations. Clements has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Rhode Island, a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice from Roger Williams University, and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) called Clements’ appointment “a superb choice.” Reed, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, helped include $324 million for COPS Hiring Grants in the fiscal year 2023 appropriations law, a $78 million increase over 2022.

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