New officer on the Block: Chris Rich
Little did Chris Rich imagine many summers ago while vacationing with family on Block Island that he would one day call this place home. But home it is for the island’s newest police officer. One of his many jobs will be monitoring the speed of drivers along Corn Neck Road, running parallel to Crescent Beach where, as a child, he dug holes to China and went body surfing.
Under the tutelage of Chief Vincent Carlone, Rich is learning the ropes after having completed a nearly six-month-long training program at the Rhode Island Police Academy. Rich said the program was rigorous, and reminded him of the training necessary for being in the armed forces. A National Guardsman, Rich joins many in his family who have served in the military or who work in law enforcement.
His earlier choice for work was in tile crafting, but the idea of being on the police force in a small community captured his attention. Rich has also taken on coursework towards a criminal justice degree. Law in all of its aspects fascinates him.
As for his current job, speed monitoring is one of the tasks Chief Carlone gives to rookies, even in the doldrums of January. And officers must be able to find their way to emergencies on unmarked, hard to find, right-of-ways. Many of Block Island’s roads fall into that last category, including where this writer lives. Rich easily found the Times interview location and passed the test with flying colors.
As for other aspects of Carlone’s training methods for Block Island’s officers, the new recruit is sworn to secrecy. He will only say that the learning process is sort of like being handed a hammer and a screwdriver “but then you have to learn how to apply those things to a job.” Rich also says Chief Carlone stresses communication skills and the importance of being an active part of a the community.
Rich grew up in New Britain, Conn. He also likes boats, particularly powerboats, and likes the idea of deep sea fishing (charter captains take note). He is also a fitness aficionado who particularly enjoys cross training.
The best times for Rich however, are spent with family. The officer met his wife Augusta though mutual friends, right here on Block Island. Both love island life and have decided to raise their children here. He is a huge fan of his wife’s Brazilian cooking — she is a grill master, he says. Dancing is something he also enjoys. Augusta, according to her husband, can dance a mean samba. A music lover, the officer plays acoustic guitar. By his own admission, he is more of a summer than a winter person and looks forward to frequenting Block Island’s beaches with the family in the warmer months.
What else does he find noteworthy about Block Island? The darkness that allows one to see an abundance of stars, and the pride island residents take in keeping their island clean.
As for that speed enforcement zone near the beach... well, fellow residents, Officer Rich is on duty...