By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Police Commissioner William Gross will retire Friday, Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday.

Gross will be succeeded by Dennis White as the city’s 43rd police commissioner and second Black commissioner. Gross became the first when he was sworn in back in August 2018. He served two-and-a-half years and is currently considering a run for mayor. However, sources told WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller it is considered very unlikely that Gross will run. Walsh is not running for re-election. President Joe Biden nominated him for Labor Secretary earlier this month.

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In an interview with Dan Rea on WBZ NewsRadio, Gross said he planned to leave when Walsh was no longer mayor. “I followed my heart and I made a promise to my family, we planned out retirement and when Mayor Walsh, whenever he left, I was going to go to,” Gross said.

Gross joined the department as a cadet back in 1983 and rose through the ranks.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Police Commissioner, leading a department of hardworking men and women who serve this city day-in and day-out, and put the safety and well-being of our community first,” he said in a statement Thursday.

“It is only after long and careful consideration that I have made the decision to retire from my role. My heart will always remain alongside my brothers and sisters of the BPD, who over the course of my 37-year career have become my village. I will continue to be one of their biggest champions as I move forward with my next chapter.”

“I want to thank Commissioner Gross from the bottom of my heart for his 37 years of service to the Boston Police Department and for his two and a half years leading the department as Commissioner. Throughout his decorated career, he’s always embodied the spirit of community policing that is so important to building trust with the people we serve,” Walsh said in a statement. “We can all be proud of the legacy he’ll leave behind, from reducing major crime to helping undertake the most ambitious set of police reforms in the department’s history.”

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Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White. (Photo credit: Boston Police)

Former Boston Mayor Ray Flynn told WBZ Gross can always bring out the best in people and neighborhoods.

“I think he probably figures he’s done the best he could, he has a good record to go out on and this is the time to do that,” Flynn said.

“I think he recognizes himself as a public servant who doesn’t look for accolades or credit or notoriety,” Flynn said. “And it might be like a lot of people quit while you’re ahead.”

NAACP Boston President Tanisha Sullivan said Gross was always willing to listen. “His mere presence and representation is a signal to people of color that they can lead in public safety and in law enforcement,” Sullivan said.

White is currently a Superintendent in the department and Chief of Staff to the Commissioner. He will serve as acting commissioner until he is formally sworn in as commissioner. That date has not been set yet.

“The women and men of the Boston Police Department have become my extended family over the course of my three decades of service,” White said in a statement.

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“I want to thank Mayor Walsh for entrusting me with this incredible opportunity and the responsibility of leading our historic department. To the community and all the members of the Boston Police Department, I pledge to uphold our mission of community policing each and every day. Serving as Commissioner is the honor of a lifetime, and I will never take this sacred duty for granted.”

CBSBoston.com Staff