Drug Arrests Latest Black Mark on R.I. Police Force

The arrests of three Providence police officers on drug charges are the latest problems for a department trying to overcome a cheating scandal and other problems under a former chief.

The officers, including a narcotics detective and a former driver for the mayor, were charged last week with participating in a cocaine ring. They have been suspended without pay.

Additionally, an officer is awaiting trial on a rape charge and another has been indicted for allegedly beating a man with a flashlight.

Chief Dean Esserman inherited a troubled police force when he arrived in 2003 and pledged to reform the department. His predecessor, Urbano Prignano, had admitted helping officers cheat on promotional exams.

Providence Mayor David Cicilline has said the arrests shouldn't tarnish the entire department.