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City of Boston accepting applications for Police Commissioner

The City of Boston is seeking a proven transformational leader to serve as the City’s Police Commissioner.

We are conducting this search during the continued transformation of policing following the unjust killings of Michael Brown, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others– and the ensuing demands for racial and social justice. We are seeking a leader who can lead the City’s police department in this new era for public safety.

Job Description

The person chosen for this position must possess the ability to inspire the confidence and trust of Boston’s diverse communities and the Department’s staff of 2,800+ police officers and civilian employees. The person chosen for this position must also demonstrate a commitment to innovative, evidence-based public safety strategies. They will set meaningful standards of accountability, transparency, and excellence that directly confront and mitigate systemic issues of racial bias in policing.

As the state capital of Massachusetts and the cultural and economic capital of New England, Boston has been the home to many firsts in our country: the first public school, the first public subway system, and the first municipal police department. As a unique and historic urban community of more than 675,000 residents, Boston remains the hub of the 10th-largest metropolitan area in the country, an area defined by its innovation-driven economy, path-breaking educational institutions, and cultural and artistic energy. Spanning more than 48 square miles, Boston is home to many culturally, socially, racially, and economically diverse neighborhoods, including historic Black communities and rapidly growing immigrant communities–thirty-seven percent of our residents speak a native language other than English. We are seeking a leader who is prepared to lead the Department into our City’s vibrant future, in a way that meets the needs of this broad community–a leader who brings an enthusiasm to meeting this moment to reimagine policing.

The Boston Police Department was founded in 1854 and fulfills the primary responsibility of law enforcement in the City of Boston. In FY22, the Department had a budget of $399 million and 2,800+ uniformed officers and civilian employees.

The successful candidate will have a proven record of implementing community-centered, reform-focused, innovative solutions to advance public safety. They will possess the necessary management skills to confront and address issues and practices of inequity and discrimination, and to implement reforms. The successful candidate will also demonstrate the ability to build long-lasting, positive relationships with racially and culturally diverse communities of Boston through community engagement. Community members should know the Commissioner and look to them as a person of deep integrity, a trustworthy steward of safety and security in their neighborhoods, and a fellow community member invested in the present and future of Boston. Finally, the successful candidate will be an exceptional custodian of the Department’s financial resources, and will leverage their considerable financial power to support alternative approaches and strategies for public safety, ultimately reducing the incidence of violence in our communities.

The next Police Commissioner must possess:
  • The determination and ability to foster and instill a culture of integrity and accountability within the Boston Police Department.
  • Excellent managerial and leadership skills, a belief in fostering leadership and career development for uniformed and civilian members of the Department, and an enthusiasm for collaboration with local and regional public safety partners.
  • A commitment to building and empowering a diverse staff and leadership team, and specifically to the promotion and advancement of women, BIPOC, and other historically under-represented uniformed and civilian employees.
  • The passion, skills, and cultural competencies to serve as a “bridge-builder” between the Department and Boston, fostering trust and strong, long-lasting relationships with Boston’s diverse neighborhoods.
  • An understanding of anti-racism as a structural framework, as well as a commitment to infusing the culture and practice of policing in Boston with anti-racist principles and practices, including actively mitigating and eliminating the use of excessive force and oppressive police tactics in interactions with communities and people of color.
  • A willingness to actively center the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ residents of Boston.
  • Experience and a commitment to proactively identifying best practices for policing policies, strategies, systems, and technologies to optimize the delivery of police services. In particular, candidates should embrace procedural justice practices and a de-escalation model on use of force.
  • A proven ability to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to improve public safety.
  • Demonstrated experience and propensity to advance the culture of a large, complex institution by centering transparency, accountability, integrity, service, and excellence.
  • A commitment to reimagining public safety policies, embrace crime reduction and anti-violence initiatives, and to collaborating with City agencies and departments to create alternative public safety response services and programs.
  • The capacity to work as a thought partner with City leadership and the Mayor of Boston for a nuanced use of policing as a resource to promote public health and public safety for City residents.
  • Deep familiarity with “community policing” as one component of an overall strategy to structurally address and redefine the historically challenging relationship between police and Boston residents, especially those from marginalized communities.
  • Experience and commitment to centering public health and human-centered approaches to advancing public safety for vulnerable populations including unhoused residents, residents with disabilities, mental health issues, substance use issues, seniors, youth, non-native English speakers/non-English speakers, immigrants, regardless of documentation, returning citizens, and survivors of sexual or intimate partner violence.
  • Willingness to collaborate with other City agencies to pursue accountability, transparency, and other reform initiatives within the police department, including Boston’s Office of Police Accountability and Transparency (OPAT) and the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety.
  • A track record of effective labor relations management.

The position requires a four-year college degree, progressively responsible command-level experience in policing in an urban community, and knowledge of best practices in policing. A graduate-level degree and executive leadership training would be an asset. We are open to candidates from non-traditional backgrounds, including candidates with reform-centered leadership experience and/or backgrounds in public health or government settings on the municipal, state, or national level. 

How to apply

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) is assisting the City in the selection process. Please contact Rebecca Neuburger at 202-997-6287 or with questions.

Qualified candidates should apply by the May 13, 2022, deadline with a cover letter, resume, and a list of five references in confidence to

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