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WPD Swears in First Female Major at Awards Ceremony

Warwick, RI – The Warwick Police department presented 19 special awards and swore in eight officers Wednesday night at City Hall in City Council Chambers, including Christine A. Kelley, the first woman promoted to Major in the department.

The promotion places Kelley among the highest-ranking female law enforcement officers in the state.

Kelley began her career with the department in December 1989 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in July 1997; Lieutenant in August 2001; Captain in October 2007.  She has earned an Honorable Service Commendation as well as 13 Third Class Commendations. She earned an Associate’s Degree from the Community College of Rhode Island, a Bachelor of Science from Roger Williams College and earned a Master of Science in Administration of Justice from Salve Regina University.

Rick J. Rathbun was promoted to the rank of Captain, and Lori A. Michailides was sworn in as Lieutenant.

Rathbun 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 joined the department in July 1995 and rose to the rank of Sergeant in July 2004, a position he held until his promotion to Lieutenant in December 2010. He holds an Honorable Service Award, five Second Class Commendations, five Third Class Commendations, and 15 Recognition Ribbons. He was a recipient of the Station Fire Award and was bestowed an Outstanding Public Service Award from the American Legion.

Michailides joined the force in July 2001 and earned the rank of Sergeant in June 2009, a position she has held until her promotion to lieutenant. She holds Bachelors of Science degrees from the University of Rhode Island and Roger Williams University in Human Sciences and Services/Human Development and Criminal Justice, respectively. She was graduated with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Boston University and earned her Juris Doctor from New England Law – Boston. She is admitted to the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Bars and is admitted and qualified to practice as an attorney in the United States District Court/Rhode Island and holds admission for U.S. District Court/Massachusetts.

Three police recruits were also sworn in as probationary officers, effective May 19: Ryan B. Lancaster, Gavin E. McVeigh, and Timothy W. Lipka.  Matthew T. Smith and Jeremy T. Smith will be promoted from the rank of probationary officer to third class officer, effective May 26.

A number of civilians and sworn officers will be honored for exemplary performance in a variety of circumstances:


  • Dispatchers Frances A. Gray, Jerry A. Parenteau, Nichole A. Bonollo, and Jessica F. Warner, and Danielle Andersen, Zoe Sprouls, Cameron Murray, Tammie Stewart will receive the Civilian Award.
  • Lieutenant Joseph F. Hopkins, and Detectives Thomas A. DiGregorio, Timothy L. Grant, and Shaun M.Turcotte will be honored with the Unit Performance Award.
  • Officers Christian W. Vargas, Quentin E. Tavares, and Matthew S. Moretti, Lieutenant Jamie M. Calise, and Sergeants Brian R. Mulcahey and Stephen W. Fernandez will receive the Lifesaving Award.
  • Captain Gregory S. Coutu will be honored with the Administrative Merit Award.


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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