CENTRAL FALLS — Former State Police superintendent and congressional candidate Brendan Doherty has been nominated to be the next chairman of the board of the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility by Mayor James Diossa.
Doherty would replace Steven T. Hartford, who resigned the chairmanship of the five-member board. The panel also includes Ernest “Gip” Cabral, Hugo Figueroa, Yedinson A. Rios and Frank Tillinghast.
Central Falls Mayor James Diossa said Doherty's resume and long career in law enforcement “speaks for itself” as to his qualifications as chairman. “I think he will bring up the profile at Wyatt and that he will be a good fit for the board,” he stated. He added that the terms of his appointment are still being worked out.
Doherty has agreed to accept the new position, which involves no compensation according to the Wyatt bylaws. However, the appointment requires the approval of the Central Falls City Council.
Doherty told The Times he saw taking the chairmanship of the Wyatt board “as a way I could help out Central Falls.”
The former State Police superintendent says he always does homework before taking on a new assignment and he expects to “immerse myself in the minutes” of previous board meetings to familiarize himself with the budget and other issues the troubled facility faces.
As of now, he said, he has “no agenda” for changes he wants to make or things he wants the facility to accomplish.
He said he hopes to meet soon with U.S. Marshal Jamie Haynesworth, with whom he is familiar from the days when they were both in law enforcement
Doherty said he gained management experience running the State Police and overseeing the expansion of its Scituate headquarters, and he serves on other boards of directors such as the Crossroads emergency family homeless shelter and the RI Special Olympics.
City Council President William Benson, who said he just learned of the appointment on Monday, said the board is scheduled to meet Thursday and will be taking up the appointment at that time.
Doherty, the 2012 Republican nominee for Rhode Island's 1st Congressional District who lost to Democrat David Cicilline, recently said he had no plans to run for statewide office in 2014.
The 54-year-old Doherty served 24 years on the Rhode Island State Police, retiring as major. He worked from 2004 to 2007 as director of public safety at Roger Williams University, and then returned to the State Police in April 2007, where he was sworn in as superintendent.
While serving in the State Police, Doherty earned a bachelor's degree in criminology from Roger Williams University and a master's degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College.
In his role as superintendent, Doherty was responsible for supervising the activities of 350 sworn and civilian personnel with an $80 million budget, and overseeing the State Fire Marshal, E 911, Municipal Police Academy and RI Grants Administration Office. He retired in April 2011.
The Wyatt Detention Facility is operated by the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation, a quasi-public corporation governed by a five-member board of directors appointed by the city's mayor. The board, in turn, appoints an administrator of the corporation who is responsible for overseeing the management and overall operation of the corporation and the facility.
The Wyatt Facility operates at maximum security providing housing for up to 730 adult male and up to 40 adult female detainees. Detainees housed within the facility are in the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service's various jurisdictions including, but not limited to Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.