This Official Rhode Island RI Roadside Memorial Registry page will allow you to register, plot, pin point and pay tribute to your loved one(s) Roadside Memorial for the State of Rhode Island RI. The regulation, rules, laws, policy, procedures and or guidelines etc information provided below for the Rhode Island RI State Roadside Memorials is ever changing and we will do our best to maintain this information for you. If you have new or updated regulation information that we have not posted, please let us know HERE.
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Providence Rhode Island council changing city policy on roadside memorials
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The City Council Thursday approved an ordinance change that would empower the police to dismantle Rhode Island roadside memorials of tragedies.
“This will give us the legal authority to do what we’ve always been doing,” said Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré. “This normalizes it a little bit more.”
The ordinance defines roadside memorials as “materials placed as a tribute to commemorate a person who died in a tragic event on a public street, sidewalk, or right-of-way.”
The revision would make it clear, too, that the police may have a memorial removed that “encroaches on private property” as well as the public right-of-way.
“This is a sensitive issue” that can affect people at a time of acute emotion, Councilman David Salvatore, D-Ward 14, has said.
Said Paré, “It addresses a trend nationally in which people want to remember their loved ones” at the site of a death, especially a death caused by a violent crime. Allowing for grief, he said, must be balanced with public safety.
The council gave the change the second of two votes of passage required for enactment and, assuming Mayor Angel Taveras gives his OK, the change would take effect immediately. Thursday’s vote was 10 to 2 with two abstentions and one absent.
One of the dissenters was Councilman Kevin Jackson, D-Ward 3.
“This is how our young teenagers today mourn their losses,” Jackson said. Removing their heartfelt memorials, he said, would send them into more of an emotional downspin.
Memorials typically consist of keepsakes, stuffed animals, plastic or real flowers, candles, bottles of liquor and a photograph or likeness of the person who died. The concern is that they can be hazardous, as a physical or visual obstacle or distraction to pedestrians and motorists, and because they contain flammables such as candles.
Although Paré and some council members have said they and their constituents also want memorials swept away that deteriorate and become an eyesore or mere litter, the revision makes no reference to that.
“There is a time in which they have to be dismantled, in a respectful way. We have done that routinely,” sometimes in response to complaints, Paré said Wednesday. Those have included times, he added, when a memorial collapsed into debris and became an eyesore.
We have exercised discretion and authority … regardless of the ordinance,” Paré said. “We’ve always used common sense and good judgment.”
The police have Department of Public Works personnel do the actual removals, according to Paré. The ordinance already authorizes the DPW director to remove any obstruction of the public right-of-way.
As an example of a well-handled memorial, Salvatore cited the memorial put up for Maxwell Dorley, a police officer killed in an accident in his cruiser on Admiral Street in 2012. Neighbors did not object to it and the memorial was “taken down in a timely manner,” the councilman said.
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