Slain state prisons chief Tom Clements had worked diligently before his death to find a new purpose for the correctional facility they had closed in rural southeastern Colorado.
As Hickenlooper signed a bill Friday to reopen the facility as a treatment center for the chronically homeless, he said it was a fitting tribute to Clements who was killed at the front-door of his home in March. The prime suspect in the killing remains parolee Evan Ebel, who died in a shootout with Texas authorities after Clements was killed.
"Tom Clements understood exactly what the spirit of this place was," Hickenlooper said. "He cared deeply about redemption and that people got a second chance. And if they're willing to work hard enough they can make something of their lives."
He never got to see the fruits of his labor, but his wife Lisa Clements was at the bill-signing.
"When Tom first came to Colorado - his first week on the job - he visited Fort Lyon," Lisa Clements said.
Tom Clements realized the state would have to close the facility because of budget issues and a declining prison population.
But Lisa said Friday he pledged to find a use for the beautiful facility.
Hickenlooper said it was very fitting that Senate Bill 210 also revises how officers working for the Department of Corrections are paid. He said the reforms in calculating hours and overtime for the employees is more just, and Clements always wanted to take care of his employees.