Boston names 1st black police commissioner: ‘Be the change’

Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- For the first time a person of color is leading the Boston Police Department.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday appointed Chief William Gross to be the new commissioner. He replaces William Evans, who retired from the department after nearly 40 years to take a public safety job with Boston College.

Gross, 33-year veteran of the department, lauded the city's recent successes in crime reduction and pledged to do more.

“One homicide is too much. One senseless act of violence is too much,” he said. “If you want change be the change. That’s why I became a police officer.”

Gross began his career in the violent-plagued Dorchester neighborhood in 1983 and then rose through the ranks to become the highest-ranking uniformed officer before being named commissioner. He noted Boston’s “negative history” but acknowledged the historic nature of his appointment.

“It shows that any kid in Boston, and we were poor and we made it, will have the opportunity to be the mayor, the commissioner or chief if we all work together,” Gross said.

Walsh told reporters that Gross' hiring won't “solve racism or the perception of racism” in Boston.

“This is one more step toward working toward a better society,” he said.

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