Charlton, MA- On Friday, thousands of law enforcement personnel from across the country honored their brother and compatriot, Auburn Massachusetts police Officer Ronald Tarentino, Jr., a “cop’s cop” who was laid to rest on Friday afternoon. Tarentino’s life was taken by an armed, known criminal early Sunday morning as he was conducting a routine traffic stop.
The veteran officer, who gave a decade of his life to the job, was remembered by family and friends; brothers and sisters with whom he served; the Auburn, Leicester and surrounding Commonwealth communities to which he had unwavering love and commitment.
“It is amazing to see how many lives he has touched,” Tricia Tarentino, his wife of twenty years said before the funeral service. “And how each of you has shown and expressed your love for him. We will never forget the compassion that has been shown by the children of so many communities; sweet cards, pictures.”
Stopping to give a statement to the press upon arrival, Tarentino’s widow stood beside Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis, Jr., surrounded by family and members of the department. “We extend our sincere thanks to the first responders, the residents of Rochdale Street who assisted the first responders, the doctors, the nurses and all who worked to save Ron’s life.”
Tarentino’s widow also sent wishes for recovery to the Massachusetts Special Tactical Operations Officer who was wounded during a shootout with the gunman who took her husband’s life. “Ron would be so touched to see how much he was loved. Thank you everyone locally and across the country from the bottom of our hearts.”
Services for Tarentino were held at St. Joseph’s Church in Charlton. The Tarentino family were members of the Greenville Baptist Church in Rochdale who were unable to accommodate a showing of the magnitude seen on Thursday and Friday. St. Joseph’s parish stepped in and offered their church and sprawling grounds, a true measure of the tight knit rural community.
Father Bob Grattaroti of St. Joseph’s and Pastor Stephen Derrick of Greenville Baptist worked in conjunction with police chaplain, Fr. Jonathan Slavinskas to assist the Tarentino family with their arrangements. “Please be assured of our continuing prayers and if there is anything you should need these next days, weeks, months or years, do not hesitate to reach out to us,” Fr. Grattaroti said to those congregated.
Tarentino’s youngest sister Caitlin delivered the eulogy for her brother, speaking of his humor, his caring, his love for family and community. “Being the firstborn and a male in an Italian family made him kind of a big deal from the beginning, which led to his nickname ‘the Prince,’ ” she said. The oldest of four children, Ronald Jr. watched over his three sisters in their hometown of Tewksbury. Son of a career policeman, Ronald Jr. would later follow his father’s path. Ronald Sr. who recently retired was a 42-year veteran officer with the Medford Police Department.
Caitlin told the story of her brother’s graduation from the Boylston Police Academy.
“Ron had asked my dad to pin his badge at the graduation ceremony and he did just that. A special bond they would forever share, father and son; and brothers in blue.” – Caitlin Tarentino, sister to Ronald Jr.
Respect for the job, commitment to public service, love of community and family were mantra throughout not only Caitlin’s eulogy, but from every speaker who had the privilege to share stories of Ronald Jr. “My brother was the greatest officer any department could hope for,” his sibling said. “He did his job the right way. He had everything he needed to be a great police officer – courage, strength, integrity, compassion, just to name a few. It was his calling.”
Wondering why this tragedy had befallen her brother Ron, why he had been taken in such a senseless and violent manner, Caitlin Tarentino delivered a potent message to all listening.
“As children, we were raised to love and respect police officers and any member of public safety,” the youngest Tarentino said. “And we hope from our tragedy that those values will be reinforced for others and that there will be change – because police lives matter.”