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McCartney Plans Retirement

[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] Col. Stephen McCartney during a Warwick Police SWAT team, response to 28 Unity Court Sept. 12, 2015 for a report of a violent man on drugs.

 WARWICK, RI — Colonel Stephen McCartney, police chief since 1999, will retire later this month following 45 years in law enforcement in the city and Providence, preceded by three decades in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Earlier this month, WalletHub named Warwick the nation’s fifth safest community in the nation and noted that the City ranked fifth for the lowest assaults per capita. WalletHub’s rankings were based on 39 metrics, including 17 in the home and community safety area. Those included assessments in 17 categories, including the presence of terrorist attacks, murders and manslaughters, forcible rapes, thefts, assaults, sex offenders, public safety employees and hate crimes per capita.

“Colonel McCartney has had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, both in Warwick and in the City of Providence, and served our country well and honorably as a United States Marine,” said Mayor Joseph J. Solomon. “In his nearly 20-year career in our community, Colonel McCartney has ensured that the men and women of our department are some of the most well-respected and well-trained officers in the region, if not the country. Under his leadership, our department has earned a reputation for professionalism, dedication and excellence that is unmatched. I know the residents and our business community join me in thanking Colonel McCartney for his service to Warwick and wish him well as he enjoys a well-earned retirement.”

“I want to thank Mayor Solomon for the honor of allowing me to assist him in the transition stage of his administration and I wish him the best of luck now as the elected voice of the people of Warwick as he prepares his to kick off his first term,” McCartney said. “I have full confidence that the men and women of the Warwick Police Department will continue their great constituent service to the citizens. After 45 years in law enforcement serving both the citizens of Providence and Warwick, and 30 years in the Marine Corps both active duty and reserve time, it is time to spend more time with my wife, 2 daughters, 7 grand-children and 2 great-grand-children. I hope to spend time personally thanking all the wonderful people I have worked with who have made my life so professionally and personally rewarding.”

Solomon’s office released a statement detailing McCartney’s long, decorated career:

Before being appointed Chief in Warwick, McCartney served the Providence Police Department with honor and distinction for nearly 26 years, working in all three major divisions of that department. His most significant assignments in Providence included serving as director of the city’s first mounted unit, as director of training, commanding officer of the Neighborhood Response Unit, and an 11-year stint with the investigative division, rising to the rank of captain and commanding officer. When he was appointed to Major, in command of the entire department, he was responsible for well over 150 investigations, including leading the department’s involvement in the Operation Checkmate investigation against the Latin Kings street gang.

McCartney retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of colonel after a 30-year military career. He was commissioned a 2ndlieutenant in 1969 and spent 22 years in the infantry,  first serving as platoon commander with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam (1970-71) and during his career held every infantry position from the platoon up to the regimental level. While serving in the Marine Corps Reserve, He was Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion, 25th Marines, who were operationally assigned to the 1st Marine Division and participated in combat operations against Iraqi forces in Saudi Arabia/Kuwait in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-1991.

In the late 1997 and 1998, now promoted to Colonel USMCR, McCartney volunteered for assignment as an adjunct faculty member of the Naval Justice School and served two tours of duty in Rwanda, Africa, assisting the U.S. Embassy and the Rwandan government. In this capacity, he directed and guided law enforcement authorities as they undertook the daunting and enormous job prosecuting genocide war crimes.

During his 30-year career with the Marine Corps, McCartney was the recipient of numerous personal decorations and unit/campaign decorations mainly for his Vietnam tour of duty and his service in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm with the 1st Marine Division. He was the recipient of the Navy-Marine Corps medal for heroism, Navy Commendation & Achievement Medals, and the Combat Action Ribbon (2 gold stars). In 1999 upon his retirement from the Marine Corps, he was awarded the Rhode Island Star by the state of Rhode Island for his honorable service to the country.

In Warwick, McCartney has been known as leader with strong budgetary oversight, whose department often, especially during the recession, still ran effectively with fewer officers and financial resources. This was accomplished in large part because of McCartney’s ability to reorganize and redeploy personnel and utilize his budget in the most cost-effective way, Solomon said. 

McCartney’s honors include the 2009 Public Service Award from the Rhode Island Branch of the American Society for Industrial Security Professionals, the prestigious Neil J. Houston, Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice, and the 2010 Kent County Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award 2010. In 2012, he was inducted into the Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of fame.

He has served as the president of the Rhode Island Police Chief’s Association in 2008 and Chairman of the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission for the last 6 years and the Law Enforcement Planning Commission for the last 12 years. He served on the Risk Management Committee of the Rhode Island Interlocal Trust for 17 years.

McCartney has also long been involved in the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, Warwick Rotary Club, the Rhode Island Police Officers’ Emerald Society, the Kent County branch of Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Providence Retired Police and Fire Association, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3, the Elmwood American Legion, Marine Corps Association, 1st Marine Division Association, Vietnam Veterans of 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, and the Rhode Island Society of Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also serves on the board of directors for Bridgemark and Whitmarsh House.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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