After nearly 8½ years heading the Providence Police Department, Chief Dean Esserman is resigning, reports the Providence Journal. A controversy over underage drinking at a party celebrating his daughter's high school graduation had become a “distraction,” he said. Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said he hadn't asked for Esserman's resignation, nor did he find anything in his evaluation of the party that would cause the chief's dismissal.
“He's a great leader,” Pare said. “We'll move on. This agency is bigger than any individual.” Esserman's decision surprised many officers. He had survived a no-confidence vote from the police union, criticism over his abrasive leadership style, and attacks on his salary and benefits. Three of last year's four mayoral candidates said they would fire him. Esserman said he'll stay until June 30. It's also the last day for 75 officers who got layoff notices. All may lose their jobs in the city's financial crisis, unless the city and police union can reach $6 million in concessions. “I'm proud of the work we've done,” Esserman said. “We've come a long way in eight years. It's time for somebody else.”