Criminals let out of jail who go on to kill police officers became a topic at Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker's inauguration on Thursday.
It is an issue extensively reported by the NBC10 Boston Investigators and now Governor Baker has strong words about what police chiefs say are preventable deaths.
Baker walked into the State House flanked by a sea of police officers and firefighters. It was an arrival ceremony paying tribute to first responders.
In a powerful moment at the inauguration, the governor invited three police chiefs to be front and center with him to make his point. Baker didn’t mince words.
“Our work is not done,” he said.
Baker issued a tweet about the first responders' presence at the inauguration.
Sitting alongside Baker were Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis, Jr., Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson and Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes. Those police chiefs have all had police officers in their departments murdered by career criminals: Auburn Police Officer Ron Tarentino, Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon and Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna.
In an unprecedented sit-down interview with NBC10 Boston Investigator Karen Hensel, three chiefs from Yarmouth, Auburn and Woburn called on the governor to take action on what they called a broken judicial system. The chiefs said they wanted the governor and the legislature to make reforming the legal system a priority.
NBC10 Boston took the request directly to Baker who said at the time he was open to discussing the issue with the police chiefs.
“Too often, dangerous career criminals are arrested only to be released as soon as they appear in court," Baker said during Thursday's inauguration. "This revolving door serves to undermine people’s faith in law enforcement and the courts. It is a threat to public safety.”
Baker named the Massachusetts police officers who died in the line of duty, including state trooper Thomas Clardy.
“We owe it to them, to their brothers and sisters in law enforcement and to our citizens to ensure we’re doing all we can to keep dangerous people off our streets,” he said, also referring to the police chiefs and State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin.
Baker called for a “common sense approach” to scheduling a dangerousness hearing for those with violent histories. That hearing could keep a career criminal off the streets.