Want A Memorial for Fallen Yarmouth Police Officer?  Try This

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2018/04/18/want-a-memorial-for-fallen-yarmouth-police-officer-try-this/

Later today a 32-year-old police officer whose friends and colleagues describe as thoughtful and honorable will have a funeral Mass in Yarmouth because a 29-year-old man with 125 entries on his rap sheet shot him in the head because he had violated probation.

Think about that. When probation was invented in the 1840s (in Boston), the point was to provide convicts with an adjustment to life on the outside so they wouldn’t just go right back to stealing.

What sort of adjustment was probation providing to Sean Gannon’s killer? What sort of adjustment could it provide?

What is the point of even offering a multiple-repeat-violent-offender probation?

How about a two-tiered system? If a convict can reasonably be said to be reformable, offer him probation as part of his sentence. If he can’t, offer him prison.

Some observers are using the murder of Officer Gannon to argue for more funding for law enforcement. With respect:  That misses the point.  More money for overtime or more officers would not have saved Officer Gannon’s life. His killer didn’t shoot him because not enough police officers showed up at his door. On the contrary – police apparently had some idea of the person they were dealing with, and so they showed up in force. Thomas Latanowich shot Gannon in the head anyway.

Instead, Massachusetts police officers should demand that the state produce a public report on the life and career of Thomas Latanowich, explaining in detail why, for instance, charges stemming from trying to rob a man at knifepoint in December 2016 were dismissed. Why a charge of assault and battery on a pregnant woman in October 2016 was dismissed. Why a charge of assaulting a man with a car in August 2007 didn’t hold up in court. (To pick just a few.)

The Massachusetts way of dealing with these things is to say kind words about the fallen police officer and his family and then bury why the killing happened in the first place.

State legislators on Beacon Hill in recent months have shown a high degree of empathy for repeat criminal offenders, trying to obscure their criminal records to make it easier for them to get a job once they get out of prison.

How about providing a public explanation for why Officer Sean Gannon had to be chasing one Thomas Latanowich in the first place?