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Superintendent Colonel Steven M. Pare Retires from State Police

By: Peter Wells
Dated: Saturday, 02/10/2007

In just a matter of weeks the State of Rhode Island will loose it's tenth Superintendent in 82 years and one that the people of Rhode Island will sorely miss. Colonel Pare is a person who walks the talk and once committed he tends to be quite successful. The Motto of the RI State Police is stated as "In the Service of the State" and it's Creed "You are always to remember that you are in the Division of State Police and In the Service of the State. It is a call of honor. It requires unselfish devotion to duty, the highest type of honest, and downright courage"; it is these written standards that has guided Colonel Pare throughout his career as a State Trooper but also through life, as Colonel Pare is the son of a State Trooper, and has grown up with a life standard that exemplifies these principles.
The Providence American had the pleasure of talking to Colonel Pare and to reflect a bit on his tenure as Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police.
PA: First of all Colonel thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview for The Providence American and its readership. I also would like to say that it has been a pleasure working with you on the Civil Rights Roundtables' Minority Advisory & Police and Community Relations sub-committee; and that you have been and still are a driving force in the area of Police and Community relations.
Colonel when did you decide to become a State Trooper?
CP: I believe it was when I was about 8-9 years old that I really understood what my father did and from there it was academic I was going to be just like him and become a State Trooper and yes it had to work because I had not planned to do anything else. It was well understood that you did not bring disrespect to the home and I guess with that attitude The Rhode Island State Police was a natural fit, it made sense.
PA: What about College did you study for Law Enforcement?
CP: Yes. I came out of High School in 1979, I was 18 years old an average student and ice hockey player, I did work at various part time jobs while I went to
Bryant College where I studied Criminal Justice. I remember working until three am at UPS and then getting to my job at Stop & Shop during the day. It wasn't until late 1979-1980 that I applied at the Academy. I think there were only 14 student troopers in my class, but the pressure was on for me since my Dad oversaw the Academy he was the Captain Adjutant; but his career never became a watermark for me.
PA: What was the State Police Department like in those days?
CP: Well under Colonel Stone the Department was run a lot more conservatively than it was under Colonel Culhane; and that's not to say that either management or leadership style was wrong. I will say that Colonel Culhane brought a new vision as well as introducing technology, in fact my Dad was a candidate for Superintendent at the same time; but the type of crime we face today as well as the changes that have taken place by State Statute has changed the mission a bit. Outcomes are the same but the tools and methods are a lot different today. Colonel Culhane offered me some advice and that was to stay connected to the local Law Enforcement Departments as good public safety is dependant on good communications, so like he I joined the Police Chiefs Association here in Rhode Island and the International Association of Chiefs of Po-lice (IACP) and I was elected to 2nd Vice President of the IACP. I realize the importance of staying connected as that too was advice given to me by Colonel Culhane, " stay involved"
and "be a lighting rod for change" he would say.
PA: Has there been any special life lessons that this position has provided you?
CP: Yes. Leadership requires some tough decisions.
PA: Speaking about tough decisions, how hard was it to make the decision to raid the Narragansett's' Smoke Shop?
CP: It was a very tough decision for me, as well as for the Attorney General and the Governor at the time. However we had a job to do and it was a clear mandate as to what needed to happen. "Hindsight sometimes is the best light  to advocate for a different approach to a similar situation" , but yes that was a difficult situation.
PA: What are you going to miss the most about the job?
CP: The challenge of Policing, the Administrative challenges, the people, both sworn and civilian employees and the community.
PA: Will you stay active in the community?
CP: Yes, but I will take some time and decide along with my wife what our next moves will be as a family.
PA: Any thought of running for public office?
CP: Like I said I need to discuss the future with my wife and family especially regarding a public life, but no I have no plans for political office; my personality and character may not be a good fit  plus family considerations. I also have difficulty in asking people for money for support of activities and such.
PA: Colonel Pare I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for your work, your example of leadership and most of all for your friendship and as gentleman. Good luck in whatever you decide to do, and come back and visit with The Providence American in the future. Again Thanks.