East Greenwich has a new patrolman, but he's not at all new to police work and law enforcement. In fact, at David DelBonis's swearing in Monday night during the Town Council meeting, it took Police Chief Tom Coyle more than five minutes to recite Delbonis's accomplishments.
DelBonis comes to the department by way of the Warwick Police Department. Because Warwick and East Greenwich have different pension systems, retired Warwick police officers can start over in East Greenwich, without having to forgo their Warwick pension.
"Start over" means as a probationary patrolman, on the lowest rung of the pay ladder. It works for East Greenwich because it saves the town having to pay for training a new recruit, as well as getting someone with lots of police experience.
While EGPD has hired several retired Warwick police officers in recent years, none have come with quite the pedigree of David DelBonis.
He began his career in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. He then shifted to the Veterans Administration police in Massachusetts and was commended while there for saving a family from a burning building.
He joined the Warwick PD in 1985, and rose through the ranks with stops as Community Police Officer, SWAT Team Squad Leader, and dive team member while also serving in instructor and leadership roles.
During those years, DelBonis also served on the security team for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and worked in conjunction with TSA, the State Police, and Greene Airport on terrorism issues.
In 2007, DelBonis reenlisted in the Army and joined the military police for the R.I. National Guard, serving in Iraq for a time. He retired from the Warwick PD in 2010 and soon after began working parttime for East Greenwich.
Recently, his wife had a baby and DelBonis decided he wanted to return to work but wanted stability too. "The town is great to work for," he said.
Several law enforcement colleagues from different departments attended Monday's swearing in, in support of DelBonis.
He will be working third shift – 11 p.m. to 7 p.m. – having the least EG seniority.