By Steve Klamkin WPRO News
Two already high-ranking officers were promoted Monday to top positions in the Providence Police Department.
Family, friends and colleagues packed into the auditorium at the Providence Public Safety Complex as Major Oscar Perez was sworn-in as Commander, the second-in-command or deputy chief, and Captain Timothy O’Hara was promoted to the rank of Major.
“The men and women of the Providence Police Department congratulate the new commander, the new major,” said Police Chief Hugh Clements. “We wish you continued success in your new assignments. It is always one of the greatest days of the Providence Police Department when we have these ceremonies.”
Both men were “pinned” with their new badges by family members after Mayor Jorge Elorza administered their oaths of office.
“They represent us with honesty, with an integrity and a commitment to making sure that this uniform, this badge, this department is held in the highest esteem wherever it is that they go,” Elorza said.
The promotions follow the retirement this month of long-serving Commander Thomas Verdi, who retired after more than 35 years of service to the Providence Police Department.
Both men were asked by Chief Clements to say a few words.
Commander Perez serves alongside his brother, a 20-year veteran sergeant with the Providence Police.
“So, when we came from the streets of Colombia, right, we never thought we were going to come to the United States and join such a great police force,” Perez said.
“I’ve always loved being a Providence police officer,” Major O’Hara said. “I love working with the men and women. I like finding answers for people, relying on people and being relied upon.”
Police issued a statement detailing the extensive achievements of the two men:
Deputy Chief Oscar Perez, a Central High School graduate, was sworn into the Providence Police Department on May 13, 1994 and has served in various capacities throughout the department. He was promoted to Detective in 2001 and assigned to the Youth Services Bureau. In 2005 he was promoted to Sergeant and worked within the Patrol Bureau until his promotion to Lieutenant in 2010.
In his role as District Commander, Oscar was responsible for overseeing Districts 2 and 3, covering the Upper and Lower South Providence, Washington Park, Elmwood and Reservoir Triangle neighborhoods.
He has also worked in the Intelligence Bureau, Gang Intervention Unit, Neighborhood Response Team, Community Police Bureau and the Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau.
During his career, Oscar has been the recipient of numerous awards and commendations including the Mayor’s Award, FBI Award, Chief’s Award and F.O.P. Award.
Oscar attained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University and a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is also the graduate of the 281st session of the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, Leadership Rhode Island Lambda II Class, Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) at Boston University and the Harvard Kennedy School Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
Major Perez currently serves on the RI Commission for Prejudice and Bias, RI State Parole Board, Rhode Island Justice Assistance, RIC Inclusive Excellence Commission and the Board for the Nonviolence Institute (NVI). Major Perez has also served as an adjunct professor in the Administration of Justice Department at both Roger Williams University and Salve Regina University.
Major Timothy O’Hara was sworn into the Providence Police Department on August 25, 1995. Major O’Hara is a highly decorated officer who has served in various supervisory positions throughout his career, including Commanding Officer of the Mounted Command and the Violent Crime Task Force.
Additionally, Major O’Hara has worked within the Robbery Task Force and the Gang Unit. In 2000, he was promoted to the rank of Detective and promoted to the rank of Sergeant in 2005. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2010 and worked in several roles within the Patrol Bureau including Shift Commander and Commanding Officer of District 1, overseeing the Downtown area. In 2015 he was transferred to the Investigative Division and promoted to the rank of Captain in 2017, where he currently serves as the Commanding Officer of the Detective Bureau.
Major O’Hara is the recipient of numerous awards and commendations, including the Archambault Award in 1997 for Police Officer of the Year, the Archambault Award in 1996 and 2001, City Council Award, F.O.P. Award and the Outside Agency Award. He attained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Rhode Island College and attended the Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) at Boston University in 2018.
To date, he has worked on and supervised 95 homicide investigations.