Former Cranston police chief named to captain’s post at URI Police Department

Had served as lieutenant with campus police force since 2005

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Newly promoted URI Police Capt. Michael Chalek is all smiles after being sworn in as captain of the URI Police Department. URI photo by Jessica Vescera
Stephen Baker, police chief and public safety director, right, swears in Michael Chalek as Chalek is promoted from lieutenant to captain, the third ranking position in the URI Police Department. URI photo by Jessica Vescera

KINGSTON, R.I. — February 22, 2017 — Michael Chalek retired as police chief from the Cranston Police Department in 2005 after serving the third-largest city in Rhode Island for 27 years.

He joined the University of Rhode Island Police Department as a lieutenant with plans to ease into retirement.

Instead, the Cranston resident embraced the unique challenges of campus police work and quickly became a respected member of the department and the campus community.

URI Police Maj. Michael Jagoda, left, and URI Public Safety Director and Police Chief Stephen Baker, stand with newly promoted police officers from left: Cpl. Thomas Guglielmetti, Police Officer II John Bush, Police Officer I Jacob Maione, Police Officer II Thomas Quaratella, Police Officer I Joseph DiIorio, Administrative Capt. Michael Chalek and resting comfortably is Officer Figaro, URI’s newly sworn in bomb detection dog. Cpl. Debra Sheldon was unavailable for photo. URI photo by Jessica Vescera

He was rewarded for his work with a promotion to administrative captain and sworn in Feb. 16 as the department’s administrative captain during ceremonies attended by fellow officers, family members and friends.  Chalek was selected following a search process that attracted highly qualified candidates from around the state and region. He succeeds John Carey, who retired in December 2015 from his captain’s post after a 37-year-career with URI police.

“When I arrived here, I had been a police administrator for many years, and I had to learn all over again,” Chalek said. “One of the things I realized is that I enjoy getting out there every day and working directly with people in the community. At URI, that is the essence of the job, and I love it.

“In many ways, being a campus police officer is more challenging than being a municipal officer,” he said. “On campus, an officer has to be a coach, mentor, teacher, substitute parent, disciplinarian and confidante. It is very gratifying. I also like the direction the department is taking, and we are developing an excellent team.”

The newly constituted administrative captain’s position has expanded duties, including supervision of police lieutenants and lower ranking public safety personnel. Under general supervision, Chalek is responsible for the department, including planning, directing and coordinating community policing and services at all major events held at University campuses that require law enforcement, including  deployment of officers and equipment. He commands the office of Administration and Professional Standards and Compliance and manages facilities, vehicle fleet, department capital improvements, telecommunications, records management system, crime analysis, field technology, vendor management, juvenile reporting  and the annual security report.

“Mike Chalek is an important part of the URI Police team and had an immediate impact on the department as far as ethics, quality investigations and service to the community,” said Stephen Baker, police chief and director of public safety. “He has certainly earned this promotion.”

“Capt. Chalek has proven that he is a skilled and experienced supervisor and commander,” URI Police Maj. Michael Jagoda said. “He has been the lead supervisor and investigator in numerous complex criminal investigations that have resulted in positive findings.  He also has demonstrated his commitment to the department, the profession, and the University community.  He is also very involved in the department’s community policing initiatives and works very closely with our partners within the University, particularly the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Housing and Residential Life.”

During his time as a URI lieutenant, Chalek supervised junior officers, conducted and supervised criminal and other investigations and served as the public safety commander for the Providence campus from December 2008 to July 2013, during which he upgraded technology and equipment.

He returned to the Kingston Campus in July 2013 to serve as the interim police major until May 2015. He represents the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association on the Violence Against Women Act Planning Committee and the act’s Law Enforcement Task Force. He served as the liaison to the University’s satellite campuses and assisted in the coordination of the department’s arming initiative. He also serves as a member of the University’s Sexual Assault Response Team.

Last spring, he earned two URI Police Department commendations. He was honored along with now Sgt. Michael Flanagan for their work investigating a felonious assault that occurred at URI’s Bay Campus. Chalek, Flanagan and several assisting officers from outside departments developed probable cause, obtained a search warrant and arrested a felony suspect, helping to provide closure to the victim.

Chalek also was honored for his work coordinating a complex investigation of an extortion case that required collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, authorities in Nashville, Tenn., URI Women’s Center, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office, the Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Sheriff’s Department. Though many details of the investigation have not been disclosed due to the sensitive nature of the incident, Chalek and his fellow officers obtained warrants leading to the arrest of a suspect in the case.

He is a graduate of the 205th session of the FBI National Academy, the  FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, and he holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Bryant University. He earned a master’s degree in administration of justice from Salve Regina University.

Other officers promoted and sworn in by Baker and Jagoda during the recent ceremonies are: Michael Flanagan, sergeant; Thomas Guglielmetti and Debra Sheldon to the new position of corporal; John Bush and Thomas Quaratella, police officer II; Jacob Mainone and Joseph Di Iorio, police officers I and Figaro, canine officer.