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Community Outreach

The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island  is committed not only to aggressively prosecuting those who violate federal law, but also to participating in efforts both to prevent crime and to help guide those who have completed prison sentences be reintegrated into our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office’s community outreach program seeks to build safer communities by working collaboratively not only with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners and the Court, but with the community and faith-based leaders, educators, and victim advocates and service providers.

The United States Attorney and members of his staff also participate in many outreach programs and events which inform and educate the general public as to the mission and duties of the United States Attorney's Office and law enforcement in general. Additionally, the United States Attorney and members of his staff volunteer their time and participate in programs initiated to improve the lives and the safety of residents across the state.

Ambassador Training

First Asst. U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch (3rd from left) joined Providence Police, RI State Police and the RI Public Defender's Office to discuss community/police relations with faith & community leaders in Providence

First Asst. U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch (3rd from left) joined Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr., RI State Police Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell and RI Public Defenders Office community outreach liaison Emmitt Hardiman to discuss community/police relations with more than 30 faith-based and community leaders in Providence. The program, Clergy Ambassador’s Training: Encounters with Police, was held at the Westside Tabernacle Baptist Church in Providence.

A series of programs have been held over the past year to encourage open and honest dialogue between the community and law enforcement. The Ambassador’s training is geared towards equipping faith and community leaders with the tools to help families in their community or congregation to have a healthy relationship with law enforcement and be an informed liaison with police. 


Back to School

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha speaking with students at the Islamic School in West Warwick, Rhode Island

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha returned to the Islamic School of Rhode Island in West Warwick to speak to a classroom full of attentive middle school students about the history and the responsibilities of the United States Attorney, the United States Attorney's Office and the role of law enforcement.


Kids, Cops & Christmas 2015

Law enforcement across Rhode Island collected thousands of toys for Christmas for the eighth consecutive year for families in need

For the eighth consecutive year, the Kids, Cops and Christmas toy collection program, spearheaded by the Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association, the United States Attorney's Office and the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office, collected more than a thousand toys to be distributed to families in need for Christmas. U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, above, representing all of federal law enforcement in Rhode Island, delivered toys donated by the staff of the U.S. Attorney's Office.


Open Dialogue Between the Muslim Community and Law Enforcement

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha speaking to members of the Muslim Community

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha joined West Warwick Police Chief Colonel Richard G. Silvia and Rhode Island State Police Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, seated to his left, and Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, in a public dialouge with leaders and  members of Rhode Island's Muslim-American community. The community and law enforcement are committed to keeping the lines of communication open, and to work together to protect the civil rights of every citizen and help ensure a safe community.

Dr. Nassar Zawia, seated with Imams and community leaders addresses law enforcement and the community

Dr. Nassar Zawia, along with several Imams and community leaders above, urged law enforcement and the community to continue open and honest dialouge as a means of educating the public and helping to diminish fear in the community.


US Attorney's Office Helping to Feed, Provide Warm Clothing for 2,000 Individuals

Food and warm clothing is provided to 2,000 R.I. residents in need

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Dambruch (above) and U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha (not pictured) lent helping hands to provide free warm holiday meals, warm jackets, hats, gloves, health screening and toiletries to nearly 2,000 Rhode Islanders in need. Dozens of volunteers from the public and private sectors staffed the annual event, Feed 1,000, which brings Rhode Islanders from across the state to the Rhode Island Convention Center (pictured below) by bus in hopes of making their holiday season a little brighter and a little warmer.

Feed 1000 provided warm meals, clothing and health services to 2,000 individuals in need


Year Up's Class 22 Welcomes the U.S. Attorney's Office with Miles of Smiles

Asst. U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose with Year Up's class 22

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose, center, was warmly received by Year Up's Class 22 during his most recent visit in November 2015. Richard visits each year to encourage urban young adults who participate in the Year Up program to continue to dedicate themselves to succeeding as they pursue their career and life goals.


Probationers Hear from Law Enforcement, Community and Faith-based Leaders

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha addressing approximately 40 Providence probationers and parolees

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha joined with Providence Police, state and federal law enforcement, and community and faith-based leaders to urge several dozen probationers recently released from prison and who are living in Providence to take advantage of programs and resources available to them as they adjust to reentering the community. Attendees were also warned that law enforcement will continue to pay particular attention to individuals who engage in violent crime, particularly those who possess a firearm or commit crimes a firearm.


Senior Class Project Examines Sentencing Disparities in Federal Court

Oana Groza, second from the left in the rear, and her senior class from Barrington High School with U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond

Oana Groza, second from the left in the rear row, a senior at Barrington High School, with the assistance of her mentor Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Rogers, brought her interest in law and her Senior Project examining the issue of sentencing disparities to U.S. District Court for a mock sentencing exercise. The issue at hand – an appropriate sentence for a college student convicted of selling fraudulent IDs as a way to earn money for his tuition. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond led the class in an exercise of determining mitigating factors and applying sentencing guidelines, as the students fashioned what they believed to an appropriate sentence. The debate was spirited and opinions varied.

Oana Groza looks on as U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond explains mitigating factors and sentencing guidelines to her senior class from Barrington High School

Oana Groza looks on as U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Lincoln D. Almond explains mitigating factors and sentencing guidelines to her senior class from Barrington High School


Sniffing out Drugs - A Real Life Anti-Drug Lesson for Students

R.I. State Police Detective Sean McGehearty and his K9 Bane demonstrated for students and administrators at the Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence the training and technique to alert investigators to the presence of drugs

R.I. State Police Detective Sean McGehearty and his K9 Bane joined David Neill (center), an investigator from the United States Attorney's Office, and others, in celebration of Red Ribbon Week at the Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in Providence. Bane facinated students and faculty alike with a demonstration of his abilities to locate drugs during law enforcement investigations. Bane assisted in delivering a pointed yet captivating message about substance abuse awareness. 


Stop the Violence Prayer Vigil

Faith, community and law enforcement joined together in a prayer vigil at Burnside Park in Providence to emphasize a shared commitment for justice, safety, respect and dignity for all. Since the events in Ferguson unfolded, law enforcement, community and faith-based leaders in Rhode Island have worked tirelessly to keep open the lines of communication between the community and law enforcement and to support one another in the community. 

The shofar is sounded to open the prayer vigilDrummers call for the assembly for the Prayer Vigil


Col. Hugh T. Clements, Jr. reads the names of law enforcement who died in the line of dutyPastor Jabulani McCalister of the Calvary Baptist Church

Rev. Dr. Joyce Penfield of the Blessing WayAttendees and participants are led in song and prayer



Community Workforce Development Forum

Reentry job forum for citizens returning from incarceration

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha moderates the first-ever Reentry Jobs Forum held in Rhode Island, encouraging employers to offer employment opportunities to citizens that are returning to the community from prison. The forum, co-hosted by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, examined partnerships with U.S. Probation and the Court to identify prospective employees; training programs; and incentives, resources and legal considerations. Employers also heard from other employers, large and small, as to the success and personal rewards they have experienced by integrating recently released individuals into their workforce.


Back to School

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose with students at St. Patrick Academy in Providence

Assistant United States Attorney Richard W. Rose visits St. Patrick Academy to launch a year-long mentoring program of high school Social Studies students.

Mr. Rose will visit with the class about once a month, educating and mentoring students on life’s lessons and experiences, and bringing them inside the judicial system. In addition to classroom work, it is expected that students will have the opportunity to visit the courts, the United States Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Office, and to meet with judges, U.S. Marshals, other prosecutors and members of law enforcement.


Record Breaking Prescription Drug Take-Back

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha urges Rhode Islanders to turn in their expired and unwanted prescriptions

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha joined the DEA, the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, the mayor of Providence and law enforcement from across the Rhode Island to promote the Prescription Drug Take-Back program for 2015.

In its seventh year, the DEA’s Prescription Drug Take-Back program provides drop-off locations where individuals can dispose of unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs. This year, Rhode Islanders contributed to a record setting collection of 67,107 pounds of unused or unwanted prescriptions from across New England by contributing 2,883 pounds.

DEA agents collected the prescriptions from drop-off points at local and state law enforcement offices, and from drop-off points at designated Walgreens and CVS pharmacies. The collected prescriptions were transported to a central location by DEA agents for safe disposal.


Support for Citizens Reentering the Community

U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha visits The Blessing Way in Providence

The Rev. Dr. Joyce Penfield, Executive Director and co-founder of The Blessing Way in Providence (center), provided United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha (right) a tour of the center’s transitional housing and in-depth briefing of services her organization provides to individuals returning to the community after their release from prison.

The Blessing Way offers returning citizens transitional housing, job assistance, case management, emergency needs, mentoring, life skills education, and spirituality.

United States Attorney Neronha and his staff work with the Federal Court, federal and state probation, and service providers across the state to enhance policies to broaden services available to inmates as they complete their prison terms and as they return to their community.

Pictured with the Rev. Dr. Penfield and United States Attorney Neronha is Mark Farnell of the Blessing Way


Kids, Cops & Classrooms

Colonel Steven O'Donnell and U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha announce details of the campaign to collect school supplies

For the 7th consecutive year, the Rhode Island State Police, the Rhode Island Police Chief’s Association, and state and federal law enforcement departments and agencies teamed up to collect and donate backpacks, school supplies, and toys for the children who are clients of Crossroads Rhode Island, Family Service of Rhode Island, A Children’s Friend, Project Night Vision, the Center for Southeast Asians, Multi Service Center for All, Mt. Hope Neighborhood Association, African Alliance, Chad Brown Alumni Association, It’s on Us, and the Hispanic Ministerial Alliance.  The school supplies are for students from pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. 

Announcing the success of the 2015 campaign, Colonel Steven G. O’Donnell, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police (at the podium) is joined by Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Narragansett Police Chief Dean F. Hoxsie.


Prioritizing Investigating the Trafficking of Women

USA Neronha addressing the trafficking of women

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha addresses The Links Inc., an international women’s service organization organized to promote friendship and service among black women, about the emerging law enforcement priority of identifying, investigating and prosecuting individuals responsible for the trafficking of women. The three-day event drew upwards of 1,000 women from across the country.


It’s a Matter of Choice

USA Neronha visiting Johnston Middle School

U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha visited the Nicholas A. Ferri Middle School in Johnston on June 18, 2015, to encourage students to make the right choice when it comes to tobacco, e-cigarettes and drugs, including illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and marijuana.
The program was hosted by the Johnston Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition and Tri-Town Community Action Agency.


The Anatomy of an Investigation and Trial

USA Neronha teaching middle school class

As part Island Treasures Day, a day-long education outreach program for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students at the Lawn Avenue School in Jamestown, on May 29, 2015, United States Attorney Peter F, Neronha provided students with a real-life look inside the dangerous work of ATF agents as they infiltrate and investigate a Providence Street gang. Mr. Neronha’ s presentation included actual audio and video surveillance, photographs, court records and a look at the prison where a convicted gang member is serving his prison sentence.


Training the Trainers

David Neill teaching

David Neill of the United States Attorney’s Office spends countless hours, day and night, working with law enforcement, educators, community organizations and others, to educate the community of the dangers of controlled substances and the increased presence of paraphernalia such as vaporizers and E-cigs.
On May 28, 2015, David Neill joined the Rhode Island Department of Health and others to host a training session for substance abuse advocates from across the state, sponsored by the R.I. Prevention Resource Center.


Bringing the Message to Inmates

Band playing for prisoners

David Neill of the United States Attorney’s Office introduces the band Not by Works to inmates at the minimum and medium security facilities at the Adult Correctional Institutions on May 23, 2015.

Through music, the band from Maine, which has performed at corrections facilities across New England, conveys a message of hope to inmates, and urges them to contemplate their future and to be ready to “do the right thing” when they are released to the community.

As part of his introduction, Mr. Neill reminds inmates of the many resources available to them as they prepare to reintegrate into the community.


Keeping It Safe

USA Neronha speaking to Juanita Sanchez High School students

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha spoke to about 200 seniors at the Juanita Sanchez High School in Providence hours before they attended their senior prom. Mr. Neronha urged the students to enjoy and savor the moment of this important milestone in their lives, reminding each of them that they have unique talents and gifts, and that it is up to them to develop them by making healthy informed choices.


The Impact of Marijuana In Our Communities

dambruch lecturing on impact of marijuana

First Assistant United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch joined experts in prevention, healthcare and law enforcement at a community forum sponsored by Ocean State Prevention to discuss the impact of marijuana in our communities. The forum, held at the Praise Tabernacle Church in Cranston, brought together parents, community leaders and advocates for an open and frank discussion about the law and health risks that accompany the use of marijuana.

The United States Attorney and his staff continue to work statewide with our law enforcement partners, schools and community organizations like Ocean State Prevention to promote prevention and awareness, and to enlighten the community of the dangers and effects of adolescent use of marijuana and electronic delivery systems such as e-cigarettes and vaporizers.


Honoring Crime Victims and Their Families

dambruch honoring victims of crime

First Assistant United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch (far right) joined with local, state and federal law enforcement in Rhode Island to honor victims of crime, their families, and the countless individuals across the state that assist them. Ceremonies marking Crime Victims’ Rights Week were held on April 22, 2015, at the Victims’ Grove in downtown Providence.


2015 Rhode Island Students' Mock Trials

Judge Bazar participating in Mock TrialUSA Neronha participating in Mock Trial

Municipal Court Judge David Bazar (left) presided over a Mock Trial competition between students from East Greenwich and the Wheeler School as United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha (2nd photo, left) and Daniel J. Achetto, Esq. volunteered as judges. The students from the Wheeler School (lower left) prevailed in the competition held on April 17, 2015, at the Garrahy Judicial Complex in Providence.

Students participating in Mock Trial  Students participating in Mock Trial

Rose in the community

Assistant United States Attorney Richard W. Rose (2nd row, 3rd from the left) joined fellow members of the Rhode Island legal community as jurors for the 31st annual Mock Trials High School Tournament Finals sponsored by the Rhode Island Legal/Educational Partnership. The trial was presided over in the Rhode Island Supreme Court by Superior Court Associate Justice Daniel A. Procaccini (center).

Students participating in Mock TrialStudents participating in Mock Trial

Zachary Johnson (left), leading the East Greenwich High School team in representing the plaintiff, and Julianna Marandola, leading the La Salle Academy team in representing the defendant, present opening statements to the jury. La Salle Academy prevailed, winning the Mock Trials High School Tournament for the second consecutive year. The La Salle Academy team will represent Rhode Island in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the national finals.


Protecting Your Civil Rights

USA Neronha guest on NAACP television show

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha (right) and FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Lucia Ziobro (center) were guests of Jim Vincent, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Chapter of the NAACP, on his television program, to discuss their agencies roles in Rhode Island responding to questions or concerns within the community regarding the protection of an individual’s civil rights. The program aired multiple times on various local and cable television stations in March 2015.


Prevention Through Education

USA Neronha lecturing students at Nathanael Greene Middle School

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha (right) is joined by U.S. Attorney’s Office Investigator David Neill (left) and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza addressing the students of the Nathanael Greene Middle School.

On February 12, 2015, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha drew attention to National Drug Facts Week by speaking with more than 200 students at Providence’s Nathanael Greene Middle School about the importance of making good choices.

“All of you have unique gifts and talents that can take you anywhere you want to go,” United States Attorney Neronha said, “if you make the right choices about how to live your life.”

Mr. Neronha’ s remarks, and remarks by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, were followed by a presentation on the dangers of substance use by David Neill, an investigator on the United States Attorney’s staff. The presentation is part of a statewide strategy of prevention through education and outreach that the United States Attorney’s office has undertaken, partnering with local police departments and prevention coalitions across the state.

The presentation at the Nathanael Greene Middle School was organized by Providence’s Healthy Communities Office.


Visiting Rhode Island’s Muslim American Communities

USA Neronha with the Muslim community   USA Neronha with the Muslim community

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha visits regularly with the Muslim American communities served by nearly every mosque in Rhode Island. The meetings provide valuable opportunities to listen to community concerns and to address civil rights and anti-crime issues.

United States Attorney Neronha’s visits provide him the opportunity to share with the community his Office’s and the Department of Justice’s priority of preserving our common values that are reflected in the Constitution and laws of the United States, such as our respect for civil rights and civil liberties, our embracing of diversity, and our commitment to religious freedom.

Updated March 17, 2016

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