Detective Dana Gervasini is sworn in by Westerly Town Clerk Donna Giordano on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. | Anna Sullivan, The Westerly Sun
January 15, 2017 01:13AM
By Jason Vallee
Sun staff writer
WESTERLY — Detective Dana Gervasini will tell you the opportunity to serve his community drives him to be a better police officer. His superiors will tell you that’s what makes him a valuable asset to the force — and will likely be the reason his recent promotion is only the latest in his climb up the department’s ranks.
Gervasini was sworn in as a detective last week, and the 12-year member of the Westerly Police Department said he’s looking forward to new challenges and the ability to serve the town in an expanded capacity.
“I’m excited. This is a different kind of police work than answering calls for service,” he said in a phone interview Thursday. “I’m looking forward to working with other departments, taking on extensive investigations and just helping to improve the quality of life for everyone in the region.”
Born and raised in Westerly, the 41-year-old Gervasini is a 1993 graduate of Westerly High School. He currently lives in the community with his wife, Rebeccah, and the couple’s four children.
Following high school, Gervasini enrolled at the Ridley-Lowell Business and Technical Institute, earning a degree in 1995 with a specialty in computer programming and repair. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1999, serving for five years and on deployments to Iraq for Operation Southern Watch and to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom before returning home to take a job with the police department in 2004.
“I was a staff sergeant when we hired him and he has been an asset to the department since day one,” said Capt. Shawn Lacey. “He truly is one of our top-notch investigators, and if there’s something that needs to be done, he’s the type of guy you can turn to and know it will not only be done, but be done right.”
Lacey said Gervasini has also shown a dedication to the community and a strong leadership ability that have not only served him well as an officer, but will allow him to establish connections with other departments as he expands his role in the region.
For Gervasini, the promotion was a natural progression in his career. Intrigued by forensic investigation, he applied for a highly-sought position in the criminal investigation course offered by the Rhode Island Crime Lab, and for the better part of the past year, he has spent Fridays studying up for his new role.
When retirements led to an opening, he applied, and Lacey said he stood out from many other applicants simply because of his recent work and efforts to improve himself.
Those in the community may recognize his name from an October school bus crash that occurred a short distance from his home. In the crash, he was able to coordinate with the driver and help get children safely off and away from the bus while medics attended to the driver of another car involved in the crash. He and his wife also opened their home to give students a safe place to stay — all while he was off-duty.
Lacey said this is just one of many examples of his strong work, which also includes serving as a field training officer, SWAT team leader, and as a member of the Honor Guard. In fact, Lacey said this is likely only his latest stop, as he continues to work his way toward greater things.
“This is just the latest promotion for him,” Lacey said. “I have no doubt that Dana is one of those officers who will continue to climb through the ranks.”