Alumnus Appointed to Lead the U.S. Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office

Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements was named Director of the COPS Office

Hugh Clements portrait

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Roger Williams University alumnus Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. will serve as the new Director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), the U.S. Department of Justice announced yesterday.

A distinguished police officer and Chief of the Providence Police Department, Clements will lead the Justice Department’s COPS Office in advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and Tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.

“The Department’s COPS Office is central to our efforts to strengthen the public trust between communities and law enforcement that is essential to public safety, and I am pleased to announce that Chief Hugh Clements, a nearly 40-year veteran of the Providence Police Department, will be serving as its next Director,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “I am confident that Chief Clements’s leadership will further enable the COPS Office to continue its important work to keep our communities safe and build trust and mutual respect between police and communities, and I look forward to working alongside him. I am deeply grateful to Rob Chapman for his leadership as Acting COPS Director, his contributions to community policing, and his continued service to the Justice Department.”

Clements began his public safety career as a night Patrol Officer in the Providence Police Department’s Uniform Division nearly 40 years ago. Over the next 17 years, he rose through the ranks, working in both the Special Investigations Bureau and the Detective Bureau, where he played active roles in several major investigations. He later served as Deputy Chief and was appointed as Acting Chief of Police in July 2011, and on January 6, 2012, he was appointed as the 37th Chief of the Department and promoted to the rank of Colonel.

Clements is a graduate of Roger Williams University with a Bachelor of Science in the Administration of Justice, as well as a sociology degree from URI and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University. He attended many specialty schools throughout his career, including the New York State Police Williams Homicide School, the Illinois State Police Supervisor’s School, and the ATF National Gang School in California, and in 2005 he graduated from the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University.

A strong advocate of police professionalism throughout his career, Clements has supported continued professional policing education for members of his Providence Police Department through the RWU School of Justice Studies Justice System Training & Research Institute (JSTRI). He has sent many of his supervisors and commanders to JSTRI’s command training series and officers to trainings such as the First Line Supervisor, Mid-Management, Executive Development, and Field Training and Evaluation courses.

An early adopter of the concept of community policing, Clements has built strategic community-engaged partnerships with RWU, as well as institutions across the city of Providence, that include a School of Justice Studies initiative with the Providence Police Department to evaluate quality-of-life issues such as neighborhood disorder, prostitution and open-air drug dealing in marginalized communities and to assess the department’s crisis intervention services in collaboration with social service agencies in Providence.

For his distinguished service, Clements is the recipient of numerous commendations for outstanding police work and devotion to duty, including being recognized with the Providence Police Department Chief’s Award three times and the White House Champions of Change Award for Reducing Drug Use and Building a Healthier America.