By Elizabeth F. McNamara
The arrest Wednesday of EGPD School Resource Officer Humberto (Bert) Montalban is the latest in a series of high-profile arrests and incidents involving EGPD officers, with two other officers arrested, one in April 2018 and one last month.
Police Chief Stephen Brown said all three were arrested for actions taken off duty, making it harder to address on a department-wide basis. After each incident, Brown said, he has reminded officers they are held to a higher standard.
“They’re expected to behave off duty,” Brown said. He noted the department had gone several years without any issues.
Montalban, the resource officer at Cole Middle School since 2013, has been a police officer for 35 years, 25 in Warwick and 10 in East Greenwich. According to Brown, in all those years Montalban never had any disciplinary actions taken against him. Montalban was suspended with pay and is due in court Friday, Aug. 16.
School Supt. Victor Mercurio said he was working with Chief Brown on staffing the resource officer position.
Montalban’s suspension comes at a time when the 32-officer department was already down 6 officers – 2 for injuries incurred on duty, 2 for sickness or injury off duty and 2 vacancies.
“That’s a squad,” said Brown. It means a lot of overtime, often forced overtime, for the other officers.
“Nobody wants to work 60 hours a week, every week. You can never make plans,” he said. “We have no flexibility.”
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August 16, 2019