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Pawtucket Announces the Appointment of a Public Safety Director

Today, Mayor Donald R. Grebien announced the appointment of Colonel James Vartanian as Public Safety Director to oversee emergency management, fire and police operations on a full time basis. 


The Colonel has served as the Director of Operations for the Rhode Island National Guard for the past three years. Over his thirty-eight-year career, he has served in command and leadership positions at home and oversees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Southwest Asia. He led various types of operations which called on him to develop a cohesive team, problem solve, and innovate under extreme pressures. Colonel Vartanian served as Chief of Staff during Operation Iraqi Freedom and as Operational Commander who led various missions during Operation Enduring Freedom. 


"Our community came together last year and made public safety a top priority," said Mayor Grebien. "We have increased our efforts to combat illegal activities and tackle our aging facilities. It's time to make even more progress. Colonel Vartanian brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to address the future needs of this great city."


The search for a full time director began in January with the formation of a search committee of public safety professionals and members of the community. They gathered input from the community and interviewed candidates to refer to the Mayor. 


"Pawtucket will be well served by Colonel Vartanian," said Steven O'Donnell, search committee chair and former Colonel of the RI State Police. "He has experience working with various state and federal agencies during emergencies in Rhode Island, and brings a global perspective from his service abroad. I want to thank the committee members for dedicating their time and efforts."


The Public Safety Director will address growing needs across the three departments working as a cohesive unit to increase efficiencies. With increasing day-to-day challenges placed upon fire, police, and emergency management, the director will focus on long-term priorities, including updating systems, addressing aging facility needs, and building relationships with the community.  



Bio and Resume

Search Commitee

August 16, 2017


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