WOBURN -- The brother of slain Woburn Police Officer John "Jack" Maguire said today he was "ecstatic" to learn of the shakeup announced today at the Massachusetts Parole Board.
"For the governor to be this strong, I was very happy," said Charles Maguire, who was joined by Woburn Police Chief Philip L. Mahoney, a handful of chiefs from other communities, and more than a dozen Woburn officers, in a news conference at the police headquarters.
Asked what Maguire's widow, Desiree, thought about the news, Charles said she was still dealing mainly with the loss of her husband.
Governor Deval Patrick today announced sweeping changes at the board, including the resignations of five board members and a prison official who had been the agency's executive director, after an inquiry into how career criminal Domenic Cinelli was released in 2008. Authorities say Cinelli fatally shot John Maguire after a botched department store robbery on the day after Christmas.
Patrick said he was also moving to terminate and discipline several employees of the parole office and that he would press for legislation that would toughen penalties for repeat offenders.
Maguire added that he will "be at every hearing" on Beacon Hill this session as lawmakers work on legislation intended to prevent dangerous criminals from getting parole.
Chief Mahoney said that "what we got was very important" and thanked Patrick for moving the process along quickly.
Asked why he felt it was important for the board members to resign, he said, "The main reason was the public had lost confidence in the Parole Board."
Northborough Police Chief Mark Leahy, president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, and one of the chiefs in attendance, said the organization "was very pleased with what we heard today."
He said the group will be watching the legislative session closely to see what legislation comes forward. He also said the association has "concerns about the selection process" for the board.
Asked if the panel should have more retired police officers, Leahy said, "We don't claim to know that. We're hoping there's careful work done to determine what makes a good member."
Attorney General Martha Coakley, the state's top law enforcement officer, also issued a statement in support of Patrick's move, saying the "strong, decisive actions" were necessary.
But not everyone lauded the governor's decisions.
The Massachusetts Parole Officers' Association said the union "remains steadfast in support of our two members targeted for termination in this matter."
"They are extremely dedicated public safety officers who apply the highest standards to their difficult and demanding profession," the association said.
Prisoners' Legal Services also issued a statement, saying no parole board could guarantee that people would not recidivate. The group said Patrick was using "a sledgehammer when a very sharp scalpel is in order," and it would result in a "tragic and dangerous loss of hope for parole-eligible prisoners and their families."
Meanwhile, back in Woburn, a young man who came to the door at the Maguire family home today said no one was available to comment.
A neighbor who declined to give her name said she had no opinion on the resignations and that she was more concerned about the family.
"I hate for them to have to keep reliving it," she said. "And it's going to go on and on forever because the 19-year-old [alleged accomplice in the Kohl's robbery] is going on trial."
The woman added that neighbors continue to mourn the loss of Maguire.
"We're sorry about Jack," she said. "He was a good guy."
Michael Levenson of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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