YARMOUTH, Mass. (State House News Service) — Rep. Steve Xiarhos said it felt like "yesterday," but it's been four years since Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon was killed in the line of duty in Marstons Mills and his K-9 partner, Nero, was wounded.
Lawmakers, police, the Gannon family, and Nero himself gathered in Yarmouth Tuesday to watch Gov. Charlie Baker ceremonially sign Nero's Law, a measure approved in February that allows emergency medical personnel to treat and transport K-9 officers. In Nero's case, several ambulances were on the scene in 2018, but none were allowed to assist the police dog.
In the four years since Gannon's death, private donations have built a new K-9 and police officer training facility -- named after the fallen officer -- on a site that Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson was chosen by Gannon himself.
"I'm pretty certain that he's listening to us as he lies at peace a little more than a stone's throw from here," Frederickson said.
Xiarhos, who served as Yarmouth's deputy police chief before his election to the House in 2020, said with a faltering voice that his "emotions are all over the place" Tuesday.
"I can't believe it's been four years. It feels like yesterday. Most, many of us were there that day. And I was the one who gave those officers their initial assignment," the Barnstable Republican said.
Before signing the ceremonial parchment, Baker said that he brought up the Nero bill at his meetings with Speaker Ron Mariano and President Karen Spilka "every single week" for "over a year" as he and others pushed for its passage.
That piece of legislation, Baker said, "was part of the healing process, the closing of the book, the turning of the page, the opportunity to pull something positive out of such a horrible, terrible, tragic situation."
Said Xiarhos: "It's not just a piece of paper. Someday, this bill will save a life. And that means everything to me, and all of us." - Sam Doran/SHNS | 4/12/22 2:30 PM
Written by Sam Doran/SHNS.
WBZ's Tim Dunn (@ConsiderMeDunn) reports.