Dear Distinguished Members of the Massachusetts State Legislature;
As the Executive Director of the New England Police Benevolent Association, Inc for over 14 years and as a retired 33 year law enforcement veteran, including over 28 years with Lowell Police Department. I not only speak as a retired police officer and a law enforcement labor leader, but as the father of a member of the Massachusetts Port Authority Police Department.
I have had the distinct pleasure of speaking before both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Massachusetts Senate on numerous occasions on a variety of important issues facing our membership, but none more so than the death penalty for the killing of a police officer. As a member of the Board of Directors for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and Museum in Washington DC, which was the catalyst and constant reminder of the sacrifice for the over 374 Massachusetts Police Officers who are enshrined on these historic and hallow grounds outside the courtyard of this building. These heroic men and woman are a constant reminder of the personal sacrifice police officers make each and every day. WE NEED NOT FORGET THE TRAGIC REMINDER OF HOW THEY DIED.
Across this country, we have seen a dramatic rise in officer shootings and fatalities. Nationwide, 52 of the 144 police fatalities in 2018 were firearm-related deaths, which represents a 12 percent jump from 2017. This data shows that firearms-related fatalities replace traffic related deaths as the leading cause of death for the last 20 years. Handguns used against police officers, including their own account for 31 deaths in 2018. In the first 27 weeks of 2019, 24 police officers have been shot and killed in the line of duty across the US.
In Massachusetts alone, over 374 police officers have given the supreme sacrifice in the performance of their duties and none as so egregious as the murder of our fallen brother John “Jack” Maguire of the Woburn Police Department, who was murdered by a career criminal the day after Christmas and only weeks before his impending retirement. So on behalf of Patrolman John “Jack” Maguire and my four brother Lowell Police Officers killed in the line of duty and the nearly 5,000 members of the New England Police Benevolent Association and our fallen brethren, we wholeheartedly support and endorse the Death Penalty for the Killing of a Police Officer.
Jerry Flynn, Executive Director
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