Johnston police promote new lieutenant, sergeant


“Today it is my honor as chief of police to present to Mayor (Joseph) Polisena one of Johnston’s finest for promotion,” Johnston Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini told a good-size crowd inside the Johnston Senior Center’s multi-purpose room last Thursday morning.

Soon thereafter, police presented former Sgt. Michael Babbitt with the official citation and congratulated him on his new rank of lieutenant.

On Monday morning, the department held another promotion ceremony, this one before a jam-packed audience inside headquarters off Atwood Avenue.

“Luca Lancellotti has displayed all the essential leadership qualities,” Tamburini told an attentive audience of law enforcement officials, family and friends. “He is ready to be a leader as a sergeant. He is ready to be part of the first link in the chain of command.”

A few minutes later, Lancellotti had taken the official oath and was immediately congratulated by Polisena.

“These promotions don’t just mean a raise in pay,” said Polisena. “With these promotions comes lots and lots of responsibility. I congratulate all these fine men and I want to remind people that they put their lives on the line every day. Their families never know if they’ll be coming home.”

Polisena stopped, then paused before adding: “That’s why I keep on saying we here in Johnston have the best local police department in New England, and it’s officers like Lt. Babbitt and Sgt. Lancellotti who make it that way.”

Tamburini, who Polisena praised for developing the Johnston department’s top-ranking reputation, then noted: “We have such a great department, so many officers deserving of promotion, but unfortunately there are only so many leadership positions. The opportunity to serve as their chief has been an honor and privilege.”

Babbitt, the chief said, “has demonstrated over a significant period of time that he is ready to take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles. He, like out other officers, are always willing to do above and beyond the call of duty.

Babbitt graduated from the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy in 2004 and serve in the Johnston Patrol Division for 10 years. He worked as a patrolman on the first and third watches.

As a patrolman, the chief said, Babbitt “served with distinction as a field training officer for numerous new recruits. Upon his promotion to the rank of sergeant in 2011, he served as a first line supervisor for all three shifts. Sgt. Babbitt has received many awards and recognitions for excellence in the performance so his duties over the last 10 years.”

Babbitt received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology from Rhode Island College in 2004. He is currently engaged to his fiancée, Jenny Susi, and the couple will be married in September. His father James Babbitt also took part in the promotion ceremony.

With regard to Lancellotti’s promotion, Tamburini said: “Sergeants are deployed to the streets of Johnston 24/7 – in charge leading, directing, advising and responding to crime scenes – routinely the first supervisors to arrive, taking charge. They are a critical link in the operation of this department.”

Tamburini, who will enter the Rhode Island Criminal Justice Hall of Fame on June 3, added: “I can personally attest that this is nothing Luca can’t handle. He is about to become a role model for 33 uniformed officers.”

Lancellotti is a 1987 graduate of North Providence High School and was previously a correctional officer for eight years with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. He graduated from their training academy in 1999.

While serving at the DOC, he earned his associate’s degree in law enforcement from the Community College of Rhode Island and graduated in 2003. He also graduated from the Municipal Police Academy in 2007 and has been assigned to all three watches in the Johnston Patrol Division. He is also a field training officer.

Lancellotti’s wife Denise, his two children – Bianca and Vincent – and his proud parents Luca and Sandra Lancellotti were on hand to help in the promotion ceremony.


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