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NBC 10 I-Team: North Providence cop suing town going back to work

Lt. Diana Perez, who is North Providence’s highest ranking female police officer ever, is ready to go back to work, the NBC 10 I-Team has learned.

North Providence’s highest ranking female police officer ever is ready to go back to work, the NBC 10 I-Team has learned.

Lt. Diana Perez is reporting for duty in a couple of weeks, according to her attorney Alberto Aponte Cardona.

“Now that the department seems to be getting on the right foot with the hiring of a new chief, she’s eager to go back,” said Cardona.

At the end of the summer, Mayor Charles Lombardi hired former Rhode Island State trooper David Tikoian to lead the department after the suspension and eventual retirement of Acting Chief Christopher Pelagio.

“Diana believes the new chief is sincere in wanting to reform a toxic environment,” said Cardona.

Perez has been out on paid medical/stress leave for the last 16 months, earning approximately $68,700 a year.

The lieutenant is a 13-year veteran of the department, but is still suing the town and the former acting chief, saying she was the victim of a number of “inappropriate, discriminatory and vulgar comments” made by supervising officers, including Pelagio.

Pelagio has denied the accusations.

Last March, a town ordered review of the matter, penned by attorneys, found the totality of Perez’s complaints to be “unfounded,” but did note they were offensive.

A federal judge later ruled the lawsuit could move forward.

Through the town's attorney, Chief David Tikoian, also confirmed Perez's return to the force.

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