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RI POLITICS

Former head of Rhode Island State Police gets new gig: Lobbyist

Brendan P. Doherty has worn a lot of hats. Some people may be surprised by his latest one

Major Michael Urso, left, and Col. Brendan Doherty, both formerly from the Rhode Island State Police, pose for a photo during the premiere of movie “Vault” in 2019.
Major Michael Urso, left, and Col. Brendan Doherty, both formerly from the Rhode Island State Police, pose for a photo during the premiere of movie “Vault” in 2019.Erin Clark for The Boston Globe

PROVIDENCE — Brendan P. Doherty has worn a lot of hats. Colonel of the Rhode Island State Police. Congressional candidate. Private investigator. Security consultant. Health care fraud investigator. Author.

Now, a new one: registered lobbyist.

Doherty earlier this year added the new service to his company, Doherty Group LLC. Right now he has two clients: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, which pays him $2,000 a month, and a newly formed organization called “Shoreline Taxpayers for Respectful Traverse, Environmental Responsibility and Safety, Inc.,” which is paying him $5,000 a month.

“I spent my career dealing with local, state and federal government, and I understand pretty well how it works,” Doherty said.

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island previously employed Doherty as the director of its special investigations unit. The shoreline group was formed in March this year to represent the interests of property owners along the shore as advocates for more access try to decriminalize trespassing along a 10-foot swath of the shoreline.

Doherty was the colonel of the state police from 2007 to 2011. That wasn’t too different from the sort of advocacy he’s launching into now. He often had to make his case before the legislature. Now he’ll do it for clients.

And as the onetime leader of the state’s law enforcement agency, one he still deeply respects, there are some industries he’ll steer clear of, he said. He plans to be “very selective” and pick clients whose missions he believes in. Doherty lives in Wakefield and launched his private investigations and security consulting firm in January last year.

The perception of lobbying might be the cocktail lounge or the smoke-filled back room, but that hasn’t been Doherty’s experience so far.

“I’m going to try to avoid those smoke-filled rooms,” he said. “It’s not good for your health. It’s just being a good advocate for the issue you believe in. That’s basically it — just be a solid advocate and knowledgeable on the issues.”

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Brian Amaral can be reached at brian.amaral@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.