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Boston swears in new Police Commissioner Michael Cox

Boston Herald 8/15/2022 Grace Zokovitch, Boston Herald
BOSTON, MA - July 13: Michael Cox was named new Boston Police Commissioner as he stands at his press conference at Gertrude Howes Playground in Roxbury on July 13, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. © Matt Stone/Boston Herald/TNS BOSTON, MA - July 13: Michael Cox was named new Boston Police Commissioner as he stands at his press conference at Gertrude Howes Playground in Roxbury on July 13, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts.

After over a year and a half without an on-the-job commissioner, the Boston Police Department opened a new chapter Monday morning, swearing in Police Commissioner Michael Cox.

“I’m proud that today, a boy from Roxbury is going to serve as the commissioner for the Boston Police Department — first and finest in the country,” said Mayor Michelle Wu at the ceremony in front of City Hall.

Cox, 57, previously moved through the ranks of the Boston Police Department and most recently served as the police chief in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He will be the department’s third Black commissioner, immediately preceded by the first two.

In 1995, Cox was severely beaten by fellow police officers who thought he was a suspect. He successfully sued the department in response. The incident has drawn attention since he was selected for the Boston top cop job in July.

“There’s been a great deal of talk about the incident that happened to me 27 years ago,” said Cox. “While this incident is absolutely informed who I am, it doesn’t define me.

“I’ve worked to change policing since that incident occurred,” he continued, “and I will continue to do everything they can to make sure no Black or brown person, or any individual no matter what their gender identity or race, is the victim any kind of unconstitutional policing.”

Despite the difficult year-and-a-half search, Cox has been warmly welcomed by parties across the city.

“I had been told that it’d be impossible to find someone who could embody all the qualities that Boston was looking for in a police commissioner in this moment,” said Wu, noting the diverse standards of the search committee. “But at the end of the day, Michael Cox is used to proving that more is possible.”

Cox emphasized the need within this exceptionally “polarized” period for the department to reflect the city’s communities and establish open lines of communication.

The new commissioner said “transparency, accountability, procedural justice, equity and inclusion” will be the at the “heart” of the police department, with specific plans forthcoming.

“As a police officer, we’re taught the old adage, that at the end of the day, we have a right to go home safely,” said Cox. “But I’m here just to remind the people that serve, we’re here to serve the citizens of Boston.

“While I don’t disagree with the adage, we want to expand upon it and make it clear that we’re all in this together,” Cox continued. “All of us have a right to go home safely. All of our kids have a right to walk in the neighborhood in the park and play safely. And we all have the right to be safe in our homes and be treated with respect.”

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