Mayor Michelle Wu announced the appointment of Roxbury native and former Dorchester resident Michael Cox as the 44th Commissioner of the Boston Police Department. Cox currently serves as the Chief of Police of the Ann Arbor Police Department in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to his appointment to that position in 2019, Cox was a 30-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. He will begin serving in his new role on August 15, 2022.
“Having grown up here, having served in many roles within the Boston Police Department and roles elsewhere, Chief Cox is uniquely positioned to build the public safety infrastructure that Boston deserves,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “He will continue building on the community trust and community policing that our city has led on for decades.”
“I want to thank Mayor Wu for the opportunity to come back home and serve the citizens of Boston,” said Michael Cox, incoming Boston Police Department Commissioner. “The Boston Police Department needs to look like the communities which we serve and include every resident to hear what is important so we can serve better. I took on public service because I wanted to help the public and give back to the communities in which I lived.”
Cox’s appointment follows a six month search spearheaded by the Boston Police Commissioner Search Committee chaired by retired Justice Geraldine Hines of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The other members of the Committee are former Commissioner Ed Davis of the Boston Police Department, Executive Director Abrigal Forrester of Teen Empowerment, Senior Pastor Bishop William E. Dickerson II of Greater Love Tabernacle Church, and Professor of Law and Deputy Director of Research & Policy Jasmine Gonzales Rose of the Center of Anti-Racist Research at Boston University.
The Search Committee’s public engagement process began with two public listening sessions–one on January 20, 2022 and one on January 26, 2022–and a multilingual community survey. The Search Committee also met with community stakeholders to inform the hiring process, including representatives from Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), representatives from Latino Law Enforcement Group of Boston (LLEGO), leadership of the Boston Police Superior Officers Federation, the Boston Police Detectives Benevolent Society, and the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, civilian staff, former and current female-identifying officers in the Police Department, youth groups in Boston, members of the Boston City Council, criminal justice and police reform experts, representatives from several immigrant-serving community organizations, members of the former Boston Police Reform Task Force, former Chiefs of Police from Boston and other major U.S. cities, and City representatives from various offices, including the Office of Returning Citizens, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement, and the Office of Black Male Advancement.
Following three months of community listening sessions, the Boston Police Commissioner Search Committee released an application and job description for the position, calling for candidates prepared to “inspire the confidence and trust of Boston’s diverse communities.” The Committee drafted the job description to be a direct reflection of the comments and ideas generated during public and stakeholder listening sessions. Following the release of the job description, the Search Committee worked with the Police Executive Research Forum to assess, vet, and narrow the pool of candidates. After a series of interviews, the Committee recommended finalists to the Mayor, who made the final selection of Michael Cox to be the Commissioner of the Boston Police Department.
“Through our public listening sessions and meetings with a wide variety of community stakeholders, elected officials, academics and representatives of the law enforcement community, we heard our charge loud and clear,” said Justice Geraldine Hines. “This City is ready for a leader of the Boston Police Department who will embrace reform and lead the Department in a way that brings a fresh vision of public safety to Boston’s culturally, racially, and economically diverse neighborhoods. I am confident that Michael Cox is the right person for the moment in our city’s history and that he will serve with the utmost integrity.”
Cox last served in BPD as the Bureau Chief and Superintendent of the Bureau of Professional Development, overseeing the Boston Police Academy, the Firearms Training Unit, the Police Cadet Unit, Recruit training and in-service training for all sworn Boston Police personnel.
He served a total of 15 years on the Command Staff in a variety of positions. Cox served as the commander of the Operations Division, primarily responsible for the Emergency 9-1-1 Response Services for the City of Boston. In addition, he was previously assigned to the head of Internal Affairs as the Assistant Bureau Chief of Professional Standards, Zone Commander of Area E, and the Commander of the Forensic Division and Assistant Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Investigative Services.
Before his Command Staff assignments at the Boston Police Department, Cox worked as a Sergeant Detective in the Intelligence Unit where he performed Dignitary Protection duties, served as the liaison to the U.S. Secret Service, and as a supervisor assigned to the Joint Terrorist Task Force. At this rank, he also served assignments in the Internal Affairs, Recruit Investigations, and Audit & Review Units. As a Police Officer, Cox worked in Area B-3 until joining the City-wide Anti-Gang Violence Unit. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1995. Cox is a two-time Medal of Honor recipient and received numerous other Commendations and awards while serving in the Boston Police Department.
Cox is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Police Executive Research Forum and holds degrees from Providence College in Business Management, Curry College where he obtained a Master’s in Criminal Justice, and Boston University’s Questrom School of Business where he obtained an MBA.