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Mayor Wu announces Boston Police Commissioner Search Committee

Today, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the formation of a five-member committee to steer the public engagement and search process for the next Boston Police Department (BPD) Commissioner, a group of deeply respected law and public safety professionals and community leaders.

The Committee will be chaired by retired Justice Geraldine Hines of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The Committee will engage first in public and stakeholder engagement to set parameters for the search, then identify and interview prospective candidates, and make recommendations to the Mayor in the coming months. 

The search for the Boston Police Commissioner is a critical step in achieving reforms and stability in the nation’s oldest municipal law enforcement agency. Superintendent-in-Chief Gregory P. Long is currently serving as Acting Commissioner and will remain in the role until a permanent Commissioner is appointed. Commissioner Long will serve as an advisor to the Search Committee. 

The members of the Search Committee are: 

  • Justice Geraldine Hines (retired), Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, chair
  • Edward F. Davis III, former Commissioner, Boston Police Department
  • Bishop William E. Dickerson II, Senior Pastor, Greater Love Tabernacle Church
  • Abrigal Forrester, Executive Director, Teen Empowerment
  • Jasmine Gonzales Rose, Professor of Law and Deputy Director of Research & Policy, Center for Antiracist Research, Boston University

“We know that investing in public safety and health, and achieving needed police reforms, will depend on committed and visionary leadership for the city and the Boston Police,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “With the support of Justice Hines, Commissioner Long, and this remarkable group of civic leaders, we are taking a critical step in our broader efforts to bring new standards of accountability and oversight to policing, enhance public safety for all our residents, and build community trust.”

“Serving as Acting Commissioner of the Boston Police Department is the honor of a lifetime, but one I intended to be temporary,” said Superintendent-in-Chief and Acting Boston Police Commissioner Gregory P. Long. “I am pleased to support and advise the Mayor and the search committee on the search for a permanent Commissioner and will remain in this role until my successor arrives.”

The members of the Committee each bring a deep commitment to public engagement and community outreach, which will be immediately reflected in the work of the committee.

Supported by staff in the Mayor’s Office, Justice Hines and members of the search committee will host their first two virtual public engagement sessions on January 20 and January 26, with more to follow. The Committee will also meet with community and law enforcement groups to ensure their views on BPD leadership are reflected in the process.

Boston Police Commissioner Public Listening Sessions  

Register for Thursday, January 20, at 6 p.m.

Register for Wednesday, January 26, at 12 p.m.

“The choice of the next Boston Police Commissioner is a decision of great consequence for our city and the people of Boston,” said Justice Geraldine Hines (retired) of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Chair of the Search Committee. “Starting this month, my search committee colleagues and I will be meeting with community leaders and members of the public to ensure that their voices are heard and included in this process. I thank Mayor Wu for entrusting me with this important responsibility as we begin the long and difficult task of reforming policing in our City and advancing a public safety agenda for all Bostonians.”   

“From my seven years serving as Commissioner of BPD, I know that to truly deliver public safety, we need leadership that is committed to taking on the hard challenges of systemic reform,” said Edward F. Davis III, former Commissioner, Boston Police Department. “I’m grateful for Mayor Wu’s leadership and I look forward to helping build a stronger Department and a safer city for all.”

“Our next Boston Police Commissioner must lead with a community-centered approach that builds trust across Boston’s neighborhoods through positive engagement,'' said Bishop William E. Dickerson II, Senior Pastor, Greater Love Tabernacle Church. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to incorporate the voices of those impacted by trauma and violence in our city.”

“As a first generation Caribbean-American growing up in Codman Square, I experienced first-hand the root causes of crime and criminalization that Boston’s youth experience every day,” said Abrigal Forrester, Executive Director of Teen Empowerment. “I’m committed to elevating the voices of young people in this community-led process to reimagine our public safety systems from the ground up.”

“As we continue to reckon with the impact of systemic racism on policing and violence, this is an opportunity for Boston to reimagine the role of the police as part of our broader infrastructure for public safety and public health,” said Jasmine Gonzales Rose, Professor of Law and Deputy Director of Research & Policy, Center for Antiracist Research, Boston University. “I am honored to be chosen by Mayor Wu as a member of the Committee and for the opportunity to engage with Bostonians over this important choice for the city’s future.” 

Committee Bios: 

The Honorable Geraldine S. Hines is a retired Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Justice. Appointed in 2014 by Governor Deval Patrick, Hines was the first female African American to serve on the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Before this role, Hines was appointed to the bench of the State Appeals Court in 2013 and to the Massachusetts Superior Court in 2001. Hines was a founding partner of Burnham, Hines & Dilday, New England’s first female African American law firm. At the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, she focused on the rights of prisoners. At the Roxbury Defenders Committee, including a stint as Director, Hines also practiced criminal law. She also explored police misconduct in communities of color through a Massachusetts Institute of Technology fellowship. Hines graduated from Tougaloo College, a historically black college in Mississippi, and was one of only four black students in her University of Wisconsin Law School class.

Edward F. Davis is the President and CEO of The Edward Davis Company. He served as the Police Commissioner of the City of Boston from December 2006 until October 2013. He administered 6 world championship celebrations and led the highly successful response to the Boston Marathon bombing. Prior to that, Davis was the Superintendent of the Lowell Police Department, a position he held for 12 years and one he rose to after starting out as a patrol officer in 1978. He brings with him a strong record of interagency collaboration and a broad range of local, state, national and international experience in law enforcement and public safety. Commissioner Davis has been recognized for his efforts locally and nationally, including through the Police Executive Research Forum, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, where he held a board position.  Davis was a past co-chair of the IACP, Research Advisory Committee since 2011. Davis was inducted into Evidence Based Policing Hall of Fame, George Mason University, in 2011.  He has received Honorary Doctorates from Northeastern and Suffolk Universities and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.

Bishop William E. Dickerson, II is the Senior Pastor for Greater Love Tabernacle Church, which he founded in 1989 with his wife Luella. In addition to this role, Bishop Dickerson has served as a Boston Public School teacher, adjunct college instructor, reentry consultant for the Department of Corrections, chaplain for the Boston Police Department and a member of the National Chaplains’ Association. He served on the transition teams for the late Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Under the Patrick administration, he served on an anti-violence council. Bishop Dickerson has received numerous awards, including: the National Night Out Award from Lena Park for Spiritual leadership to end hand gun violence, Boston Housing Authority’s Outstanding Award for Volunteerism and Leadership, and the Boston Celtics’ Heroes Among Us Award. Bishop Dickerson also earned a Masters degree in Education (M.Ed.) from Cambridge College and a Master of Arts degree in Urban Ministry (MA) from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He also studied at Harvard University.

Abrigal Forrester is the Executive Director of Teen Empowerment. Before this role, Forrester was the Director of Community Action at Madison Park Development Corporation (MPDC) and worked at several organizations in and around Boston; YouthBuild USA; STRIVE, Boston Employment Service Inc.; The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts; and The Boston Foundation’s, StreetSafe Boston Initiative. He is a lifelong resident of Boston and grew up in the Codman Square section of Dorchester, MA. Forrester faced difficult challenges and choices as a young man and found himself disconnected from positive opportunities. He also had a period in his life where he dealt with incarceration. Forrester attended the University of Massachusetts Boston and acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. He is also an alumnus of Boston University's Institute for Non-Profit Management and Leadership.

Professor Jasmine Gonzales Rose is a critical proceduralist and is particularly interested in the intersections of race and language within two areas: juries and evidence. She is a leading criticalist voice on evidence law, with a focus on the evidentiary issues raised by racialized police violence. Professor Gonzales Rose’s scholarship has appeared in several journals, including the Harvard Civil Rights Civil Liberties Law Review among others.. Her scholarship is also forthcoming in several books. Professor Gonzales Rose joined BU Law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she taught for nearly a decade. At Pitt Law she received the law school’s Robert T. Harper Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Distinguished Public Interest Professor Award, the latter twice. Due to her commitment to racial justice, she was selected as a Derrick A. Bell Fund for Excellence Scholar two times. Professor Gonzales Rose is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor-in-chief of the Harvard Latinx Law Review and a member of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau. Most recently she served on the boards of directors of the American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Pittsburgh and the Abolitionist Law Center. She is a member of the Supreme Judicial Court Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Evidence Law

  • Boston Police Commissioner Public Listening Sessions

    Join a virtual public listening session to help the Search Committee identify a new Boston Police Commissioner.

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