Fung announces new police chief in Cranston

Lt. Col. Michael Winquist of the Rhode Island State Police is named Cranston police chief on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung on Thursday named the officer who is second in command of the Rhode Island State Police as his choice for police chief.

Fung announced at City Hall that he had selected Lt. Col. Michael Winquist, a 24-year veteran of the force.

The NBC 10 I-Team had reported Winquist was the selection on NBC 10 News at Noon.

The City Council must approve the nomination.

Winquist said he'll be a visible and approachable chief.

"My goal is to continue to unify the rank and file of this police department. Division only weakens the agency as a while. You have my promise that every member of the Cranston Police Department will be treated fairly and with respect," he said.

"Today marks a brighter future for the men and women of the Cranston Police Department with a leader who will uphold the guiding principles of law enforcement," Fung said.

While at the Rhode Island State Police, Winquist oversaw area detectives, narcotics, and the Providence Police Gang Task Force.

Winquist is also a Roger Williams University and FBI academy graduate.

Fung announced last month he had narrowed the field of candidates to six finalists. All were from outside the department.

The department has had an acting chief since January. Former Chief Marco Palombo was placed on leave, then retried, amid a ticket-writing scandal in which officers allegedly targeted cars in the districts of two city councilors who had voted against a police contract.

Fung, who is running for the GOP nomination for governor, has been criticized for his handling of the situation by opponent Ken Block.