The average citizen likely will feel little comfort from the firings of three employees of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole who supposedly were indirectly responsible for the murder of yet another Philadelphia police officer — but at least the firings are a start.
This holiday season will be unlike every one before it for the family of slain Police Officer Moses Walker, who was gunned down in August as he walked to a bus stop after finishing his shift at the 22nd district in North Philadelphia.
Rafael Jones, the 23-year-old man charged with the officer’s murder during a botched robbery, has a long criminal record and was supposed to have been under electronic monitoring following his release from prison on an unrelated gun charge, but he was not.
“If people had done their jobs, we would not be here on this day,” John McNesby, head of the local police officers union, testified at a public hearing last week in the Northeast — home to so many of Philly’s Finest. The hearing was convened by state Rep. Brendan Boyle, who along with others, deserves credit for trying to get to the bottom of what went so terribly wrong with the parole system.
The hearing, at MaST Charter School, was set up by the House Democratic Policy Committee, but it should be the first step in a mission to reform the way Pennsylvania does parole and probation.
In addition to firing any and all people who had any part in allowing Jones to go free, authorities should also prosecute them, if necessary, after a full investigation. The results of the probe must be made public and the state legislature must take swift action to tighten the requirements for parole and crack down on liberal judges.
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