What to Know
- William Gross, 56, made history when he was sworn in Monday as the first African-American police commissioner in Boston's history.
- He says he's focused on diversification and recruitment of all races on the force, and cutting crime in neighborhoods that need most relief
- Gross, who has been with the department for 33 years, says people on the streets of Boston won't see him any less despite his new role.
Boston’s new police commissioner, William Gross, is well aware he’s the first African-American to hold the job.
In an exclusive interview with NBC10 Boston, Gross, 56, acknowledged the significance of being the first.
But he also knows there’s still some people rooting against him.
“There are still people who are prejudiced, with ill intent upon me just because of the color of my skin. So what," Gross said. "There are many people of all colors who have helped support me.”
Sworn in on Monday, Gross is now focused on a number of objectives, including diversification and recruitment of all races on the force.
He’s also focused on cutting crime in the neighborhoods that need relief the most.
“Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester, the south end, Jamaica Plain," Gross said. "Even in our specialized units we have licensed clinical social workers in the gang unit, school police unit and at the family justice center.”
They are employing licensed workers and then deploying them throughout the city as a means of preventing kids from going down the wrong path.
“We’re not just interested in putting cuffs on," Gross said. "We want to be proactive.”
Just as his officers vow to be proactive, Gross says neighborhoods need to be the same when it comes to helping solve crime.
“You owe no allegiance to anyone that will shoot your grandmother, your baby brother, sister or an infant. Nothing. Stop snitching is out.”
After spending 30+ years policing the streets of Boston, many want to know, will the people see him less?
“No. No way," Gross said. "From patrol officer to any job that I’ve held, I’ve always been in the community.”
Gross, who replaced William Evans, is also in the middle of looking for his replacement as superintendent-in-chief. He says he’s hoping to have that position filled soon.