Editorial: Firings are a start

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.
Send let­ters to: pronews@bsmphilly.com

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