Special to the Times-Free Press
Kevin R. Hayden was sworn in as the Suffolk County District Attorney on Monday, January 9, at Roxbury Community College.
Hayden was appointed by Governor Charles Baker to the fill the unexpired term of Rachael Rollins who was appointed United States District Attorney for Boston by President Joseph Biden. The following is Hayden’s Inaugural Address:
Good evening. It’s so wonderful to see everyone gathered here. I’m truly honored and humbled to stand before you for my inauguration and swearing in as the elected District Attorney for Suffolk County.
There are some thank you’s I need to offer up at the outset. First, thank you to all my supporters. Whether you volunteered on my campaign, made a contribution, put a sign on your lawn, or simply voted for me and encouraged others to do so, I thank you. I thank you for believing in me and for believing in a vision of what’s possible in Suffolk County.
Thank you to my Transition and Community Advisory Committee for your support. I look forward to the important foundational work we’ll do together.
Thank you, Ralph Martin for hiring me way back in 1997 and for your many years of mentorship, support and friendship.
Thank you, Governor Baker for the confidence you had in me to appoint me as the interim D.A. and for your guidance and leadership.
Thank you, Senator Collins and Representative Tyler for your incredible support.
Thank you, Chief Justice Budd for doing the honor of swearing me in this evening.
Thank you, all our police officers in Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, and at the MBTA and State Police, for your selfless service.
Thank you to all of my staff at the District Attorney’s Office for your tireless commitment to justice, public safety and the welfare of our Suffolk County residents. You are the greatest group of public servants working for the best D.A.’s Office in the Commonwealth, and perhaps even one of the best in the nation. For all my A.D.A.’s here I look forward to the honor of swearing you in at the conclusion of this program.
Thank you to all of the elected officials here today, my partners in government. I look forward to continuing to partner with all of you as we work to make Suffolk County even greater.
Thank you to all the residents of Suffolk County and your commitment to what is right…good… fair…and just…and your concern for public safety and the support of those impacted by crime.
Thank you to my mom, Charlene Roberts-Hayden, for your unconditional love and constant prayer. All my life you’ve been faithful, all my life you’ve been so so good.
Thank you to my wife Michelle and my sons Jordan and Carson. I love you more than words can express. To my beloved Michelle, I am nothing without you, and to my 2 sons you make me so proud every day.
I want to start by sharing a story of a chance meeting I had with a young man just before Christmas, and a card I received on the first day back in the office in 2023.
[Tell story of meeting young man from Power Corps Boston on the steps of West Roxbury District Court – Career development program paying and preparing young adults in need of support for a career in the green industry].
[Read card from survivor.] Over the years I’ve witnessed many testimonies like this and I’ll touch upon them again later in my address.
When I returned to the office about a year ago it was exciting and surreal. The honor of returning to where my career began…to an office and county that has always had my heart…to a calling to serve as leader of this great office…was extraordinary and is still somewhat difficult to even put into words.
But I CAN put into words some of the things we’ve done already.
We created the Boston First Program to focus on firearm violence, gun trafficking and unsolved shootings.
We created a new Civil Rights Unit with prosecutors in the district and superior courts.
We established a community engagement team to create neighborhood partnership, collaboration and trust that will achieve a level of community-based prosecution never seen before.
We launched our Services Over Sentences Program to provide true assistance and real alternatives to prosecution for those battling with substance use disorder at Mass and Cass and even beyond.
And while I believe we’re off to a great start, there’s much left to do. The statistics for last year showed a continuing drop in serious crime in Boston, but an increase in gun arrests involving youth and an alarming spat of violence this fall. I believe we must deal with crime comprehensively and collaboratively to get to the root of the problem.
We will create the Suffolk County D.A. Youth Engagement Council, made up of young people from throughout Suffolk County, to gain a deeper and better understanding of the factors at play in youth violence, and how to create effective prevention strategies.
We will also create the Emerging Adult Alternative Resolution Program in collaboration with the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at M.G.H. and Harvard Medical School. This program will offer real, comprehensive alternatives to prosecution for Suffolk County’s young adult population.
We’ll be seeking additional funding to expand our Services Over Sentences program to tackle the opioid epidemic. We’ve already seen great outcomes since we launched last summer, and we want to help even more people in their paths to recovery.
Our Transition and Community Advisory Committee will assist in the development of our strategies to address crime intervention and prevention, and enhance community trust and operational transparency and accountability.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office has been nationally recognized for decades now thanks in large part to the incredible work of my predecessors. Ralph Martin gained country-wide recognition for bringing the office out of the courts and into the neighborhoods. Dan Conley built on that while creating the Juvenile Alternative Resolution program and establishing specialty courts to help veterans and others with sentencing alternatives. Rachael Rollins added data-driven outcomes and historic accountability with the Crime Strategies and the Integrity Review Bureaus.
And I declare here today that our best and brightest days of community safety…and neighborhood security…and systemic reform still lay ahead. When we unite in faith and hope… when we work together in faith and hope…we can achieve amazing results.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Even when we can’t see it we must know that our hope is never mere nor meager. When all other senses sleep our eye of hope is the first to awaken and the last to shut. Today more than ever, we must hold unswervingly to hope. But hope for what? Well one main hope for me is the multiplication of overcomers.
If you’ve heard me speak at all recently you already have a flavor of what I’m about to say. But I’m determined to speak this message into existence. An overcomer is defined as someone who prevails over opposition, difficulties, conflict, or attack. An overcomer is someone who knows weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. An overcomer is someone with a spirit who won’t allow themselves or others to be defeated by tragedy or adversity…and thus ultimately triumphs.
An overcomer won’t suffer alone and seeks to find refuge, solace and peace in the sharing of fellowship with others. Whether you’re a homicide survivor who has lost a loved one to violence, or a survivor of rape, human trafficking or sexual assault who now ministers to others, someone who’s gotten sober and triumphed over substance use disorder who now mentors or sponsors another, or are a returning citizen who has turned your life around and is now helping others do the same, YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER! You will help transform Suffolk County. It is by and through the spirit of overcomers the curse of violence in Suffolk County will be broken. I believe when the power at work in restored overcomers is poured out and multiplied, miracles will happen, deliverance from the clutches of crime and violence will become manifest. The mission of this office will be to always fight for you and stand with you each and every day.
I thank all of you, I am humbled by the opportunity you have given me, and I stand ready to lead this wonderful office. Thank you.