The Boston Police Commissioner is the second strongest particular person in metropolis authorities, proper behind the mayor. The commissioner’s obligations are to advise the mayor on issues of policing and public security, and to handle the police division. In the end, the success or failure of the Boston Police Division rests within the arms of its commissioner.
Over the earlier decade, Boston has been led by two glorious police commissioners, each named William. Within the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the biggest terrorist assault on American soil since 9/11, William B. Evans’s tactical management was very important in holding a reeling metropolis secure and resulting in the eventual seize of the bombing suspect.
William Gross, Evans’ successor, was the most well-liked police commissioner in Boston historical past. Gross was beloved by his officers, metropolis residents, and plenty of others round Massachusetts. As a frontrunner, Gross was paying homage to Normal George S. Patton. He ensured that each one his command workers had management coaching supplied by Boston College, was a robust advocate for his officers and made positive they knew he had their backs, and throughout the George Floyd riots of 2020, his management prevented Boston from burning to the bottom.
What impressed me essentially the most about Gross was how apolitical he was throughout his tenure. He criticized the leniency proven by liberal judges and former Suffolk County District Lawyer Rachael Rollins throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when violent criminals have been launched from jail. Gross hated criminals and beloved the town. Gross was top-of-the-line commissioners we’ve ever had, regardless of serving for such a short while. Former Commissioners Evens and Gross left robust and confirmed legacies and blueprints of management, crime discount, morale boosting for officers, and neighborhood belief.
No one is aware of this higher than present Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox, who held positions of energy below each males. Mayor Michelle Wu appointed Cox in August, and regardless that he’s solely been on the job for 4 months, his efficiency is sorely missing. Evans and Gross, just like the mayors they served, weren’t essentially the most articulate audio system. Nonetheless, each have been at all times entrance and middle throughout press conferences, updating the general public on what was happening and assuring residents that they might trust within the BPD. Cox appears digital camera shy at press conferences, incessantly deferring to Superintendent Felipe Colon. Regardless of a string of 4 violent homicides earlier this fall, Cox said that he didn’t wish to “overreact” or “over-police”. No marvel he avoids press conferences.
However as violent crime continues on Boston streets, press conferences are inevitable. It took six folks folks being shot Sunday night time within the span of an hour for Cox to inform reporters Monday that the BPD will likely be shifting extra assets into the areas which have seen extra violence just lately. “We have to have a presence in sure areas to make folks really feel secure,” Cox stated. “Visibility has a method of deterring crime.”
Underneath Cox’s management, morale within the BPD has hit an all-time low, and a document variety of officers have transferred to the Boston Fireplace Division. Cox’s strategy to date is in step with the progressive tenor of Metropolis Corridor.
But when Cox doesn’t look to his predecessors for examples of the way it ought to be achieved, Boston residents and officers will likely be paying the worth.
Rasheed Walters is an entrepreneur, political commentator and historian. He’s a member of Venture 21, and resides in Boston. Comply with him on Twitter @rasheednwalters.