Boston’s new top cop plans to be ‘commissioner of the people,’ curb youth violence

BOSTON (WHDH) - Two days after being sworn in as Boston’s new police commissioner, William Gross says he’s elated to be the city’s top cop but he’s not forgetting the long road he traveled to achieve success.

Gross opened up in an interview with 7’s Byron Barnett about becoming Boston’s first African-American police commissioner and spoke about his plans to move the department forward, which include better connecting with the public and curbing youth violence

As a black man, Gross says he never believed he would hold the honor of 42nd commissioner when he first joined the department in the 1980s.

“Those are the cold, hard facts, but I have to give credit to forward thinking to administrators that changed the department,” he said.

Gross says he is aware of negative stereotypical views that are associated with people of color but he plans to “be a commissioner of the people.”

“You’re under a microscope,” he said. “I’m keenly aware of negative stereotypical views and perception about people of color, but know this: I will be a commissioner of the people, of everybody.”

The commissioner, who is widely known for being visible in all of Boston’s neighborhoods, says his top priority is stopping senseless youth violence and furthering the department’s efforts in community policing.

“To get to know the public more,” he said when asked about what he plans to ask of his officers. “I’m also going to ask for their input.”

Gross has set up his new office like a museum, filling it with many historical artifacts, including replica swords that King Solomon once held.

“If you know your history, you know your self-worth,” he said. “That’s how you acquire wisdom.”

While Gross takes his job very seriously, he unwinds by flying online airplane simulators.

“I fly anything from fighter planes to Boeings,” he said. “I really love it. I’m like a goofy kid when I’m flying. I’m always looking out of the window.”

Gross plans to visit all of the city’s precincts in the coming days to speak directly with all of his officers.

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