#BlackExcellence: William Gross Becomes Boston’s First Black Police Commissioner

For the first time in history, the city of Boston has appointed its first black police commissioner.

The Boston Herald reports, beginning next month 33-year Boston police veteran, William Gross will replace William Evans, who is retiring on Aug. 4 to become executive director of public safety at Boston College.

During a press conference on Monday, Gross, who will oversee a 2,200-person department, expressed his excitement for his new role.

“It shows that any kid in Boston … will have the opportunity to be the mayor, the commissioner or the chief,” the 54-year-old said. “If you want to change, you need to change, that is why I became a police officer.”

Prior to his latest career milestone, Gross served stints with the department’s gang and drug control units, as an academy instructor, a sergeant, and sergeant detective. In 2014 Gross became Boston’s first black superintendent-in-chief.

In January, Gross admitted during an interview with Boston 25 News that he was optimistic about the city reversing its long-standing past with racism.

“I didn’t even know if Boston was ready for an African-American chief, but I knew Boston was moving in the directions that would distance it from its horrid past of racism and exclusion,” he said. “When I first came on in ’83 as a cadet, sometimes you’d hear the N-word and sometimes you’d hear Caucasians spoken about in a certain way.”

Gross’ appointment follows the Boston Police Department’s 2017 push to increase its diversity efforts. According to data obtained by NBC Boston, in 2017 just one-third of the police department was either black, Latino, or another ethnicity. While an estimated two-thirds of the department was white and over 80 percent of the superior officers were white.

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