Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 05-09-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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20 NORTH SMITHFIELD MAY 9-15, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Robert L. Bergeron Robert L. Bergeron, Jr., 54, of North Smithfield, died May 2 at Hope Hospice & Palliative Care in Providence. He was the loving husband of Rachel (Morisseau) Bergeron and the beloved son of Robert Sr., and Jennie (Losardo) Bergeron of Woonsocket. He was the department vice president of Corporate Information Systems for Amica Insurance. He was a graduate of Mount St. Charles Academy, and then Rhode Island College. Besides his parents and wife, Rachel, he is survived by their two children, Matthew Bergeron of North Smithfield, Emily Murray and her husband, Derek, of North Smithfield, and grandchildren Olivia Grace Murray and Camden Robert Murray, who will be named in his honor upon his birth next month. He is also sur- vived by Paul Whelan of Woonsocket, who was more like a brother to him than a friend. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated May 8 in St. John the Evangelist Church, 63 Church St., Slatersville. Burial will be private. Calling hours were held May 7 in the Holt Funeral Home, 510 South Main St., Woonsocket. Contributions in Rob's memory can be made to Hope Hospice and Palliative Care of Rhode Island, 1085 North Main St., Providence, RI 02904-9826. Contributions would be greatly appreciated by his family. www.holtfuneralhome.com BERGERON BLACKSTONE – A vocal group of town residents attended the Board of Selectmen meeting Tuesday to demand answers on the suspension of Police Chief Ross Atstupenas, who was placed on paid administra- tive leave last month pending the results of an investigation. Residents speaking during the good and welfare portion of the meeting painted a portrait of a devoted town servant and fam- ily man unfairly caught up in an ongoing investigation. Several criticized the actions of the Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator Daniel Keyes in handling the matter, claiming they did not follow proper procedure in placing Atstupenas on leave without a hearing. The board accepted the administrator's deci- sion to place Atstupenas on leave on April 16, two weeks after members voted to initiate an investigation of the entire Police Department. "I live at 48 Mendon St. I've lived there for 71 years, which is my whole life. I've seen a lot of police chiefs come and go during that peri- od, and there's been no chief more dedicated and honorable and loyal to this town than our present chief, Ross Atstupenas," said longtime resi- dent Chip Morin. Several residents questioned the transparency of the decision and demanded to know the facts behind the investigation. A few expressed outrage at the circumstances of the chief's departure, saying he had been "walked out" of the police sta- tion, a claim Board of Selectmen Chairman Daniel Keefe denied. "We just want answers. We want to know exactly why this is going on, and it's really not a lot to ask for a man who's given so much," said Hannah Trubiano, a resident of Blackstone Street. The crowd received little in the way of answers from board mem- bers, who indicated they did not intend to speak on the topic until the investigation wraps up. Keefe defended the actions of the board and administration, while town attor- ney Patrick Costello said the board does not have any findings from the investigation to present at this time. "The Board of Selectmen and the town administrator followed the pro- cedures set forth," said Keefe. "We did our job. So until the facts come out, you're just assuming." Throughout the discussion, more than a dozen members of the town's police force and their families remained standing at the back of the room in a silent show of force. Only Patrolman David Laudon, a town resident and president of the Blackstone Police Patrolman's Union, spoke on behalf of the group. In a brief statement, he informed the board that union members had taken a vote of no confidence in the leadership of Atstupenas on July 25, 2018, a measure he said passed with overwhelming support. "I stand before all of you tonight to affirm that we, the members of the Blackstone Police Patrolman's Union, still stand strongly by the vote of no confidence as taken in July 2018," he said. Laudon would not elaborate fur- ther on the union's position on the investigation and referred all ques- tions to the Massachusetts Coalition of Police. Residents, police divided over chief's suspension Blackstone's municipal cen- ter was packed Tuesday night as residents and members of the police force came out to share their thoughts on the suspension of Blackstone Police Chief Ross Atstupenas pend- ing an investiga- tion. By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer auren@valleybreeze.com

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