At Warwick City Hall yesterday, Sgt. Allen Valliere and Officer Dale Drowne of the Warwick Police Department were recognized for the role they played in the investigation following the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April.
Both officers are volunteer members of the Rhode Island State Bomb Squad, and reported to areas in Massachusetts along with Rhode Island State Police, to assist in tracking down the two bombing suspects.
State Fire Marshal and former Warwick Fire Chief John Chartier is in charge of the State Bomb Squad and presented the officers with two letters of commendation.
The first letter was from Col. Steven O’Donnell, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Chartier read the letter on behalf of the commissioner, who could not attend.
“Your actions on that day, under stressful and dangerous conditions, were highly professional. You helped bring about a successful conclusion to this cowardly act of terrorism,” read the commissioner’s letter. “Your actions bring great credit upon both yourself and the Rhode Island State Bomb Squad.”
The commissioner’s letter also detailed the actions of the Rhode Island Bomb Squad during the investigation.
Valliere, Drowne and the other members of their team were sent to secure the campus of the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth where bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a student. They were also sent to secure a residence in New Bedford where Tsarnaev was believed to live.
Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Richard U. James was another member of the Bomb Squad who reported to Massachusetts along with Valliere and Drowne.
“These are two great guys,” said James of the honored officers. He recalls the experience of working on the search efforts for the two bombing suspects and says it was especially dangerous because the team did not know what they could be walking into.
After Chartier read his own letter of commendation to the officers, in which he, too, thanked them for their efficient and professional work, the Marshal took a few moments to express his feelings toward the two Warwick officers on his squad.
“I can’t say enough about these two guys. The Bomb Squad in Rhode Island is a very small, elite unit. Some of the folks that work in the Bomb Squad are full-time members of my department, and others are volunteers, such as these two gentlemen, that step forward and make the operation of that squad possible,” said Chartier. “I have the greatest appreciation for their service and the greatest admiration for these two gentlemen, and I am honored to be here to present these two commendations.”
Mayor Scott Avedisian said it was no secret the city of Warwick is incredibly proud of the two officers involved in the efforts following the Boston Bombings.
“It’s a great way to showcase the work of these officers and let people know how the State Department of Public Safety and local police and fire work together,” he said.
The mayor said this event served as not only a thank you to Valliere and Drowne, but was an opportunity to show citizens that Warwick officers are part of something much bigger.
“It’s not just they come do their job well here,” said Avedisian.
The officers’ boss, Col. Stephen McCartney, chief of Warwick Police, took a few moments to express his feelings.
“You’re looking at two of our finest police officers,” said the proud chief. “These two officers are just two very, very good police officers. They go out there every day, being involved in the patrol bureau, doing an absolutely fantastic job and I could sit here all day and sing both of their praises.”
McCartney also added that Drowne not only serves the city of Warwick and assisted with efforts in Massachusetts, but he had recently finished up a combat tour in Afghanistan as well.
McCartney also acknowledged the crowd of almost 15 Warwick SWAT team members in attendance for the presentation.
“They have also been affiliated with our special operations SWAT Team,” said McCartney of the two officers. “And, as you can see, they have the respect of their colleagues here who have taken a little time out from their very intensive training program to honor their two fellow officers.”
When asked if they wished to make remarks or give comments to the media, Valliere and Drowne respectfully declined. These men of few words are truthfully not looking for acknowledgement; they do what they do to help others.