Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said on Sunday that she and Gov. Charlie Baker are resuming cordial terms following a public dispute last week. Rollins also made clear she expects the courtesy of direct engagement with other officials and will be steadfast in defense of her office and her discretion on policy.

"I won with a mandate, and I am the first woman to ever have this position, so let me make something very clear to you," Rollins said. "There is no way in hell that a secretary that reports to a governor sent a letter without the governor knowing. I can tell you that's true, because the governor called me [Saturday] to apologize."

Her comment drew cheers and applause Sunday at an event at the Prince Hall Lodge in Dorchester where about 180 people, including city councilors and state representatives, convened to show support for Rollins and her controversial agenda of shifting resources away from prosecuting low-level crime and towards major crimes like homicides.

Read more: 'Jail As A Last Resort': Rachael Rollins Defends Plan Not To Prosecute Certain Crimes

Rollins told the audience she did not appreciate learning of the Baker administration's concerns about her agenda through a letter from Public Safety and Security Secretary Thomas A. Turco III that became public on Thursday. She said she welcomes criticism, but not being blind-sided, particularly by an appointed official.

"It's not about disrespecting me, because I represent 185,133 people who voted for me," she said. "Secretary Turco got his job because he knows one person."

"Had the secretary or the governor picked up the phone and spoken to me, [or] sat down and said, 'We disagree with everything you're saying,' and then written this letter, you wouldn't have heard a word from me," Rollins said. "We are allowed to disagree with each other, but what you're not going to do is disrespect this office," she said to more cheers and applause.

Rollins, who is African-American, is the first woman to hold her office. Many present on Sunday pointed to her gender as a reason for the public and unexpected nature of the Baker administration's policy criticisms.

WGBH News contacted the governor's office but received no response to her remarks Sunday.

"I think they approached her the way that they did because she is a woman of color and because they thought they could underestimate her," said Alejandra Tejeda of Hyde Park. Tejeda, 21, told WGBH News she believes Rollins proposals — which include declining to prosecute possession with intent to distribute when defendants are caught with certain amounts of marijuana, heroin or fentanyl, and limiting review of a defendant's criminal history to three years — are in the best interest of her community.

"We know that people of color, once they're in it, they struggle to get out of the criminal justice system," Tejeda added. "So what Rachel Rollins is proposing is simple. It's to help make sure that these people aren't stepping into a system that will kill them."

The meeting's organizer, activist Monica Canon-Grant, told WGBH News it was important to rally around Rollins because she is a black female official whose new ideas have community support.

"When we voted for Rachael Rollins, we knew what we were voting for. We knew that we were voting for criminal justice reform. We knew that we were voting for change. We knew that we were voting for someone who was going to get in there and disrupt the status quo, and I think a lot of people didn't count on that," Canon-Grant said. "We organized, not only just to show support for Rachael, but to let other politicians know--hands off."

Other attendees agreed.

"We changed the guard, and now we got to guard the change," said Calvin Feliciano, pointing to the 2018 elections. Rollins beat out four primary competitors with nearly 40 percent of the vote, then won the office with 80 percent of ballots cast in the general election.

"What she's trying to do would end needless, senseless and mass incarceration," said Feliciano, 34. "She focusing on solving the violent crime and things that really matter and not about locking poor people up because they're poor."

Former State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson also defended Rollins. "We have gathered here today to support the person who's responsible for locking people up because we only want it to be done right," Wilkerson said. Wilkerson, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges in 2010 and served three years in prison, said Rollins' supporters "know she has a plan to do it right."

Community Supports Rollins
From left to right: Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins; Rep. Nika Elugardo; City Councilor Kim Janey; and former Mass. Sen. Dianne Wilkerson.
Saraya Wintersmith WGBH News

Other elected officials who appeared in support of Rollins included State Reps. Russell Holmes and Nika Elugardo, Boston City Councilors Kim Janey and Michelle Wu, and Chelsea City Council President Damali Vidot. Sending statements of support were U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell and Rep. Liz Miranda.

When asked what the Baker administration should know about community support for Rollins, Sherie Bridgeman of Dorchester said the state's criminal justice system is in need of revamping.

"That's not to excuse the wrongdoing that people do, but to really look at people as human beings and give them the same compassion that you would another race of people," Bridgeman, 54, told WGBH News. "I think that Rachael Rollins is someone who sees the needs in communities of color and she's prepared to make change."

Rollins assured the audience she and the governor are now working to bridge their policy differences more directly.

"Gov. Baker has my respect because he picked up the phone, like a leader does. We had a conversation that is nobody's business but ours, and now we are moving forward to help the communities that are impacted by the criminal justice system," she said.

"This is an example of when someone slaps you in the face and thinks you're going to turn away and cry, and you take your earrings off, roundhouse kick them dead in the face and then punch them to the ground," Rollins said to roaring applause. "I will tell you that I will always fight for what is right."