WARWICK – Mayor Joseph J. Solomon announced Police Major Rick Rathbun, a nearly 24-veteran of the force and the City’s Emergency Management Director, will be the department’s new chief.
Solomon announced the Board of Public Safety approved Rathbun’s appointment Monday afternoon. The nearly 24-veteran policeman and the City’s Emergency Management Director succeeds former Chief Stephen McCartney, who retired in December. Rathbun was sworn into office immediately following the board’s vote.
“During Colonel McCartney’s 20-year tenure, he built a department now filled with tremendously talented, dedicated and experienced officers and a command staff that has shown great integrity and professionalism,” Mayor Solomon said. “Chief Rathbun has consistently demonstrated those qualities, along with tremendous leadership abilities and his commitment to protecting and serving our community well. Chief Rathbun and Deputy Chief Brad Connor are both dedicated and have longtime experience in law enforcement. I am confident that, as they work cooperatively together on behalf of our community, we will have the best police command staff in the state.”
Solomon said since Rathbun’s appointment as EMA Director in August, his leadership ability has been evident. Since taking on the role, Rathbun has led the update of the City’s emergency response plan, and has coordinated citywide departmental operations during severe weather storms as well as other issues affecting public health and safety. During the recent collapse and subsequent repair of a sewer line on Sandy Lane, Chief Rathbun spearheaded all of the logistics involved to limit the impact on both residents and business community, Solomon noted.
“Throughout these incidents, Chief Rathbun demonstrated his ability to stay calm under pressure and effectively coordinate responses among multiple municipal departments in order to ensure that our residents were safe and impacts to the community were as minimal as possible,” Solomon said. “With several very qualified candidates, both within and outside the department, that I considered, the exemplary job he has been doing in his dual roles as Major and EMA Director was a deciding factor in my decision.”
“I am grateful to Mayor Solomon for the opportunity to lead the Warwick Police Department as its next Chief of Police,” Rathbun said. “I look forward to working with the dedicated members of the department and community stakeholders in continued service to the City of Warwick.”
Prior to joining the department, Rathbun spent four years as an enlisted member of the United States Air Force in a military law enforcement position. He was sworn in as a Warwick police officer on June 27, 1995. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2004, and served as the accreditation manager of the Inspection Services Division from 2006, until his promotion to lieutenant in 2010.
By 2015, he had risen to the rank of captain, and was promoted to the rank of major two years later. He has served as the Administrative Bureau commander since last July
Since becoming a member of the department, Rathbun has attended over 55 specialized school training courses, in a variety of areas, including, but not limited to, firearms and bomb threat investigations, gang recognition, drug impairment, anti-terrorism, crisis negotiations, incident command, forensics, communications, sexual harassment prevent and threat and risk assessment.
Rathbun has also served as a department training officer, offering instruction in patrol operations, report writing, and in field training officer certification at the Rhode Island Municipal Training Academy. He was a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team from 2006 to 2015, serving as its team leader from 2009-2015.
Rathbun earned his Master of Science degree in Administration of Justice/Homeland Security from Salve Regina last year. He also holds an Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement from the Community College of Rhode Island and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Roger Williams University. He has been awarded six second class commendations, five third-class commendations, 21 recognition ribbons, and an honorable service recognition. He was also honored with the American Legion Outstanding Public Service Award and presently serves as vice chairman of the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission.