Local News

Watch: Michael Cox sworn in as Boston Police commissioner

The Roxbury native, who spent 30 years in the department before heading to the Midwest, has called the transition a homecoming.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is holding a swearing-in ceremony Monday for the city’s new police commissioner, Michael Cox.

The ceremony was set to begin at 10 a.m. on City Hall Plaza.

Cox, a Roxbury native and longtime Dorchester resident who spent 30 years at the Boston Police Department before heading to the Midwest for his most recent position, has called his return to the city a homecoming. 

The 57-year-old was chosen by Wu after a six-month search for a candidate to succeed former Commissioner Dennis White, who was fired by acting Mayor Kim Janey last year following an investigation into decades-old domestic abuse allegations against him. Boston Police Superintendent-In-Chief Gregory Long had been serving as acting commissioner in the interim. 


During his decades with Boston police, Cox managed Internal Affairs, the 911 call center, and the police academy. He also served as the deputy superintendent of Investigative Services and superintendent of the Bureau of Professional Development. 

In 1995, while serving with Boston police, Cox was beaten by fellow officers while on duty as a plain-clothes officer. At the time, he was a member of the anti-gang violence unit and was pursuing a murder suspect when he himself was mistaken for a gang member by the group of fellow officers.

Cox was thrown to the ground and beaten by his colleagues, who left him unconscious and bleeding when they realized their mistake. He suffered serious injuries, including kidney damage and a concussion, in the attack which was documented in the bestselling book, “The Fence,” by former Boston Globe reporter Dick Lehr.

Cox sued the department, eventually winning $1.25 million in damages and legal fees. Some of the officers involved were fired; others remained on the force.

“After this incident happened, I had a choice — either quit or stay, and I chose to stay, because I believe in policing in a community-friendly way,” Cox told The New York Times recently. “And I know the men and women that I work with believe in that same thing, too.”


After the announcement that Cox would become Boston’s new police commissioner, the city’s new top cop placed an emphasis on diversifying Boston’s police force and bringing back more forms of community policing, including open input from residents.

“We’re going to give back in so many different ways,” Cox said during a July press conference. “We’re going to be present in every community. We’re going to get to know the cultures of all the people that we serve to make sure that we never make a mistake and confuse someone’s culture from behavior that’s considered criminal in some way, shape, or form. We need to understand the people we police.”


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com