The Johnston Police Department (JPD) held a promotion ceremony on Wednesday for Captain Joseph Razza.
Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini officiated the ceremony. “This morning we are proud to celebrate, pay tribute and promote Captain Joseph Razza to the rank of major. It’s a great day for the Razza family and also a great day for our Johnston Police Department,” said Mayor Joseph Polisena, offering his contratulations.
Razza, who has achieved a steady climb up the Johnston Police Department chain of command since he joined the department back in 1998, began his career with the Jamestown Police Department.
“Chief Tighe never got over it,” Tamburini said. “I enjoyed going to the chief’s house for lobster. That’s no longer the case. It was a tough decision ... lobster or Joe.”
Looking to Razza’s spouse, Tamburini asked, “Mandi, did I make the right decision?”
“It was a great morning,” said Razza. “My family and friends were there. I’m not one for big gatherings. It was a great day – perfect.”
Tamburini spoke of Razza’s many accomplishments.
“Over the years, Joe has impressed both his peers and supervisors with his diligence and competence in managing department operations along with his work on his quest to master a 10K road race. Captain Razza’s abilities have distinguished him by his dedication, savvy and maturity. Every challenge I throw at him is a vote of confidence. These attributes have earned him a reputation as someone with a passion for his work and the skills needed for leadership. He’s got the ideas and drive,” he said.
Tamburini further recognized Razza’s potential for future advancement.
“There’s little doubt that one day he will assume an even greater leadership role in our state. Joe has the makings of a big time, elite-level leader in law enforcement. He is truly a credit to the town of Johnston and the Johnston Police Department,” he said.
Major Razza is a lifelong resident of the town.
The son of Joan Razza and the late Pasco Razza, Joseph Razza accomplished life’s milestones in Johnston. He is a 1987 graduate of Johnston High were he achieved All-State honors in football and an Honorable Mention All-American.
As an example of just how he has distinguished his alma mater, Razza was inducted into the Johnston High School (JHS) Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.
Razza, also an avid runner, joined the Jamestown Police Department in 1995. While working there, he spearheaded the Neighborhood Crime Watch and Community Policing programs. During his time in Jamestown, he affected 100 DUI arrests and negotiated a despondent female from the rails of the Jamestown Bridge.
When Razza joined the JPD in 1998, he did so with previous assignments to all three shifts.
He became a certified field training officer and has been instrumental in training numerous patrol officers and current supervisors, which has brought him great pride. He was promoted to sergeant in 2006 with previous assignments on the first and second shifts.
In 2010, he became Lt. Razza and was what Tamburini called “an effective supervisor for all three shifts.”
Razza’s career includes serving as assistant traffic and special services commander and, the chief noted, “brought Joe closer to the community he proudly serves.”
He received advanced certification and training in multiple community policing concepts and is a certified community police officer. He has also represented Rhode Island at the Worldwide National Crime Prevention Symposium in Washington, D.C.
Among Razza’s many credits are advanced training and certification in homicide investigation and drug interdiction strategies.
A graduate of the prestigious DEA mini-academy, Razza has received six letters of commendation, two department ribbons and as many department medals during his 18 years as a dedicated police officer.
Razza also received the Mayor’s Medal for an arrest and the Town Council Medal for saving a choking victim’s life.
“Joe’s keen street sense and proactive approach to policing has resulted in numerous felony arrests,” said Tamburini. “His record also includes seizure of four stolen handguns, numerous drug related arrests and a one-time seizure of five pounds of marijuana.”
Razza is currently assigned to the administrative division and oversees all administrative and training responsibility for the department. He also serves as the department’s internal affairs investigator and teams with Deputy Chief Daniel O. Parrillo as the assistant emergency management agency director.
Razza has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice. He’ll soon graduate from Roger Williams University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology.
Razza and his wife Mandi make their home in Johnston.
Razza will assume more duties as Major. He will continue to serve in his administrative function, as well as Major in Patrol and serve as the department’s internal affairs officer.
Razza oversees approximately 35 patrolmen and 12 supervisors in the ranks of captain, lieutenant and sergeant.
“We handle all community policing duties, special services, civic events and traffic,” said Razza in interview after the event. “Our uniform patrol is 365 days. We are here 24/7.”
The ceremony closed with a salute from Razza as he offered his thanks.