At last Tuesday’s annual National Night Out celebration at LoPresti Park Boston Police Commissioner William Gross made his first public appearance in East Boston since being sworn in by Mayor Martin Walsh.
Walsh, who introduced Gross last Tuesday in Eastie, said the new Commissioner is no stranger to the neighborhood and has ‘hit the ground running’.
Gross, who began his career at Eastie’s District A-7 station after graduating from the police academy in 1985, became a regular fixture as he rose through the ranks.
“It’s great to be here during National Night Out, but this is something this community does everyday,” said Gross of his fondness for the tight-knit Eastie community. “I love the East Boston Peace Walks and all the fine citizens that make that happen each week. Everyone is dedicated and always talking about how to make East Boston better and better. I took a trip to El Salvador a couple of months ago with Chief Brian Kyes of Chelsea and we are committed to making sure that anyone who comes here is not going to be forced into gangs. We are going to try to deter the youth in our community from that life.”
Gross said that the trip to El Salvador was aimed at starting a new period of cooperation between the two countries to try and change the way of life so no child has to be pressured to join a gang.
“When they come here, this is going to be a safe haven for their families,” said Gross. “There are no walls for the City of Boston and East Boston, everyone is welcome.”
Gross then thanked Mayor Walsh for making him the 42nd Boston Police Commissioner.
“I came from Boston, I grew up in a neighborhood, you will not see me change,” said Gross. “We have a strong partnership in the City. Everyone here is seeking justice for those that do right and for those who can not do right we will rehabilitate them the best we can.”
Following his remarks Gross mingled with the crowd, sat with residents and answered questions from community leaders.
Gross is a 33-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. As a Patrol Officer he spent many years in the Gang Unit and Drug Control Unit, as well as serving as an Academy Instructor. He rose through the ranks, achieving the ranks of Sergeant and Sergeant Detective, and was promoted to Deputy Superintendent in 2008, where he became a member of the Command Staff of the Department. As Deputy Superintendent, Gross served as the Commander of Zone 2, which is comprised of Area B-2 Roxbury and Mission Hill, Area B-3 Mattapan, Area C-11 Dorchester and Area C-6 South Boston. In this role, he coordinated with District Captains in their development of strategies to address crime trends, and attended community meetings to address specific neighborhood crime concerns.
In 2010, Gross became the commander of the Field Support Division, which included command over the Youth Violence Strike Force (Gang Unity), and the School Police Unit. In 2012, he was promoted to Superintendent, Night Commander, responsible for oversight of all police responses to incidents on a citywide basis in the evening hours. Throughout his career, Superintendent Gross has maintained a strong connection with the community, and has been awarded numerous awards for bravery, meritorious service and community partnership.