PAWTUCKET — In ceremony heavy on both family and tradition, Paul King was sworn-in on Monday afternoon as the city’s newest police chief.
The former Pawtucket Police major was pinned with his new badge by his father, retired Pawtucket Police Captain Theodore “Ted” King as his mother, Eileen, looked on. King’s wife, Roberta, and the couple’s five children, witnessed the special event, along with a large gathering of state and local officials and police chiefs and public safety personnel from throughout the state.
The 50-year-old King now assumes the post that was held for the past 13 years by Chief George L. Kelley III, who retired on Friday. As part of the ceremony, seven other Pawtucket Police officers who were promoted along with King were sworn-in to their new ranks. They were Major William A. Karelis, Captain Daniel P. Mullen Sr., Lieutenant Shawn D. Driscoll, Lieutenant Michael F. Cute, Sergeant David L. Holden, Sergeant Timothy M. Graham, and Detective Edward D. Berube Jr.
State Rep. and Attorney General-elect Peter F. Kilmartin served as master of ceremonies, saying it was “a banner day for Pawtucket.” The former Pawtucket Police captain said he had served under King’s father, Ted, and that the elder King had run the department “with honor, integrity, and dignity” – and had instilled this in his son.
Mayor James E. Doyle called King’s promotion “a very, very proud day in the city’s history.” He also spoke of the father and son career link, and noted that there were several such family traditions among members of both the city’s Police and Fire Departments.
Doyle added that King, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bryant University and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College, had worked in most of the various departments and has the respect of the police officers from the rank and file to the upper echelon. “We are effecting what is just about a seamless transition for this department,” he noted. He added that the seven other officers who were being promoted were also “stepping up to positions they will not be strangers to.”
Doyle also singled out Major Arthur Martins, who, he said, had been in a dead-heat with King “to the decimal point” as far as test scores go for the chief’s job. He said the choice between the two men had been so difficult that he had left it up for them to decide, and that Martins had come to him to say he thought the job should go to King because of his years on the department. He asked the audience to give Martins a round of applause.
Saying that he was “speaking from the heart,” King thanked Doyle for promoting him and Kelley for leaving him a nationally accredited police department with state-of-the-art equipment and a high approval rating from city residents. He also thanked all of his friends and colleagues throughout the state who came to share in the day as well as his family. “Especially my family, for all of the hockey practices and family events I’ve missed,” he added.
In his invocation, Rev. Charles H. Galligan, of St. Edwards’s Church told King’s five children that they have “the best dad,” and prayed that “the Lord will watch over him, guide him and give him the wisdom to make good decisions” as the city’s police chief.