Posted on July 24, 2018

Next Police Leader ‘More Than Qualified’

Laurel J. Sweet, Boston Herald, July 24, 2018

Longtime friends and colleagues of Boston’s first black police commissioner William G. Gross yesterday extolled the virtues of an egoless public servant who has a heart and soul of blue.

“I don’t think he wants to be looked at as ‘the black police commissioner.’ That’s the hot buzz today, but that will wear off,” said Boston police Detective Larry Ellison, who was appointed to the force with Gross in 1985. {snip}

Ellison, president of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, said of the department’s rank-and-file officers, “At the end of the day, we just want someone who’s going to be fair, regardless of color. {snip}”

Gross, 54, a history buff and member of the patriotic Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, has served as retiring top cop William B. Evans’ right hand since 2014, when he became the city’s first black superintendent-in-chief. He drew public attention representing the department at community outreach meetings — a role he seemed born for with his self-effacing personality and tireless ear for residents’ concerns. But he has also been firm in defense of his fellow officers, notably at a crime scene in March 2015 after police had shot and killed an armed robber who had shot a cop. Gross patiently took questions, but as one protester pressed him on why police shot the man, he replied, “Did you hear the part where he shot the officer in the face?’’