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BPD's Gross sworn in as Commissioner, making history

BOSTON — History was made in the city of Boston Monday.

William Gross was sworn in as Police Commissioner, making him the first black commander to lead the Boston Police Department.

"It was so inspiring to see somebody that looked like me up there," Carrie Mays, a 17-year-old community activist, said. "It showed me that I can do it, too, and my brothers and my sisters can do it, too. Be the change that you want to see in the world."

Gross is officially taking over from William Evans, who retired as Commissioner on Friday and is leaving to take a job at Boston College.

Gross was sworn in during a ceremony at Morning Star Baptist Church, where his mother has been a member for 35 years.

"William Gross is not only Boston's 42nd police commissioner, he's not only Boston's first black police commissioner, he's America's next great police commissioner," Mayor Marty Walsh said.

Gross, a 33-year veteran of the Boston Police Department, joined the force in 1985 as a patrol officer, spent many years in the gang unit and drug control unit and also served as a police academy instructor.

Through the years, he rose through the ranks and was promoted to deputy superintendent in 2008, and became a member of the command staff. He developed strategies to address crime trends and went to community meetings to tackle neighborhood crime concerns.

In 2012, he moved up to the superintendent night commander post and in 2014 became the Department's second in command.

Moments before he was sworn in, Gross told Boston 25 News he was grateful for his family on his historic day.

"If we strengthen, every family that has challenges won't be susceptible to predators outside their homes," Gross said.

At the podium, Gross thanked his mother, members of the department from the past and present, dignitaries, and young people like Mays, who had a front row seat.

"He didn't just talk about race," Mays said. "He talked about just being a human being and morality and ethics."

As he was officially sworn in, Gross looked ahead to the future, and what needed to be done for the department to be successful.

"We have work to do, but one day, everybody will feel confident," Gross said. "Until then, we won't waiver, and we won't grow tired of educating people about how we do things."

Gross laid out his vision for the department, wanting to enhance community policing efforts, articulating a plan for diversity, maintaining transparency and focusing on officer wellness.

Hours after the ceremony, Gross had the opportunity to put his vision into practice at the National Night Out, an annual event to connect the community with police.

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