Providence Police Department Major Thomas A. Verdi has achieved a level of performance in the field of law enforcement comparable to other notable Hall of Fame members such as Colonel Walter Stone, Major Lionel Benjamin, and Chief John Partington, founder of the federal Witness Protection Program–but Tom did it, in part, as an undercover cop far away from the limelight.
A native of Providence, where he is now a 27-year veteran of the city’s police force, Tom had a desire for police work from a very early age. He recalls that in grammar school he dressed as a cop for career day, and by the time he was a senior at the University of Rhode Island he was applying to police departments all around the country. Fortunately Providence offered him a job.
During Tom’s years on the force he has performed with passion and distinction at every level in such assignments as Narcotics, Detectives, the SWAT team, and Administration. While working in Narcotics he was deputized as a Special Agent with the FBI and as a Deputy United States Marshal. In 2008 Tom was promoted to Captain/Executive Officer of the Administration Division where he used his degree in finance. Additionally, he served as the Director of the 66th Providence Police Academy. Prior to that assignment he was commanding officer of the Narcotics and Organized Crime Bureau where he worked dangerous undercover assignments to apprehend major local figures in organized crime. Today Tom is commanding officer of the Uniform Division where he oversees about 250 officers. In addition, he supervises law enforcement activities in nine neighborhood districts, develops crime reduction strategies, and serves as liaison to the city council and community groups. In the latter capacity he works with numerous civic non-profit agencies, including Crossroads, Rhode Island, Amos House, Children’s Friend and Service, and the Providence Baseball League.
Tom’s expertise and involvement also extends to the state level as a member of the Rhode Island Police Accreditation Commission, which establishes law enforcement standards, and the Rhode Island Parole Board. He is the first Providence police officer ever to serve on that important and sensitive panel.
Major Verdi has received numerous awards and commendations, including the Department of Attorney General’s Award, the New England Law Enforcement Task Force Award, and the U.S. Attorney’s Award for his key role in Operation Checkmate.
But the award that gives Major Verdi the most satisfaction is the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) TOP COP Award–one of law enforcement’s most prestigious designations. He earned this honor for his work in Operation Royal Flush-the most successful drug wiretap investigation in the Providence Police Department’s history. The 2003-2004 investigation broke the back of the Rhode Island Latin Kings, the state’s largest and most active gang.
Operation Royal Flush was the first wiretap investigation to target the hierarchy of an entire gang and the first federal drug wiretap investigation the Providence Police Department ever executed. Major Verdi made the decision to target the gang and spearheaded the multi-agency task force that conducted the investigation. Altogether, Operation Royal Flush resulted in the largest single drug seizure in the Providence Police Department’s history. Twenty-six gang members were indicted on multiple drug charges, including the gang’s leader.
Major Verdi presently resides in Warwick with is wife and high school sweetheart, Kimberly. They are the parents of four children–Nicole, Thomas, Maria, and Joseph.
– (Dr.) Patrick T. Conley
– Louis DiToro