BOSTON (CBS) — Just three days into the job and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross is already knee keep in his work. Boston’s new top cop is in high demand, and he is okay with that.
“Sleep? What is that? It’s been a whirlwind, but myself and former commissioner never went home anyway, we were always out in the community,” said Gross during his one-on-one interview with WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill.
In many ways, Gross plans to follow in the footsteps of former commissioner William Evans. The 33-year veteran said he would continue to push community policing and police officer wellness.
“I love the mission that we already have and that’s to work in partnership with the community, to problem solve together so we can create a better quality of life for everybody, including police officers,” Gross said.
He also has some ideas of his own, though. “I want every officer in Boston to know that they are welcome to take promotional exams and if you’re a hard worker to try new and different things. We have a serious reputation of nepotism, favoritism… We must show the people who do the work have an opportunity for advancement.”
Gross is Boston’s first African American police commissioner, something that is not lost on him. “This city has moved forward and we have work to do so I’m just grateful to senior and everyone of every color that really fought for justice and equality so I could be here as the 42nd commissioner.”
He is also aware that police and race relations have been bumpy. “The way we make that better is to educate people that we are human too and our officers are quite willing to learn about each other. We have many different ethnicities in the department but we want to make sure that our department reflects every neighborhood in the city of Boston.”
Specific training is also essential: “we should leave our implicit biases and recognize our unconscious biases and address them. That’s what we do in the academy.”
It is no secret that Gross is a well-liked officer. He is good at learning about people but what do people not know about him? He loves quantum physics.
And is it possible that Gross is too nice for the job? He says not a chance.
“I think everyone that truly knows me, knows I take things from a coaching perspective. I will encourage you and teach you but I will hold you accountable but I don’t play when it comes to that because if you are too friendly, it will cost you lives. If you are too friendly you won’t hold people accountable because you are worried about hurting feelings. This is a job and a serious job.”