William Gross, Commissioner

William G. Gross

Labor Guild Board of Directors

Cushing-Gavin Awards Logo

Cushing-Gavin Award Recipient

Management Award, 2019

Born in a rural part of eastern Maryland, he moved to Boston with his family when he was 11. He credits his family and other role models in his youth, both in Maryland and when he had to adjust to city life in Dorchester, for his value system and the drive that has allowed him to attain the success he has. He always makes a point to recall where he came from: If he can go from a pig farm in Maryland to the office of Police Commissioner, he likes to tell Boston students, so can they.

Bill Gross has been a part of the Boston Police Department for 35 years. He graduated from the Boston Police Academy in 1985, and throughout his career as an officer he has patrolled neighborhoods around the city. In addition to working as an instructor at the Police Academy, he was assigned to the Youth Violence Strike Force and the Drug Control Unit. In 2004 he became a sergeant and in 2006 a Sergeant-Detective. He kept climbing the ranks—in 2008 he was appointed to the Command Staff as a Deputy Superintendent and in 2012 the role of Superintendent, becoming Night Commander and overseeing police services citywide. In 2014, Mayor Marty Walsh and Commissioner William Evans appointed him to the position of Superintendent-in-Chief, making him the first African American to hold the position in BPD’s long history. Four years later, in 2018, he was appointed Commissioner and became the first person of color to lead the department.

Throughout his career Commissioner Gross has striven to develop connections with the community he serves. He’s interacted with activists, grieving families, clergy, neighbors, and protestors, operating on the rule that everyone should be treated with respect and dignity. This community-centered approach has served as a significant step in the right direction for the department, and the Commissioner is still focused on making policing safer and more just.

Commissioner Gross has been recognized throughout his career for his service: He has received numerous Departmental awards and several Governor’s Citations; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award; the United States Attorney’s Boston Offices’ Award For Outstanding Dedicated Service to the Survivors of the Boston Marathon Bombing; the Department of Justice Investigative Achievement Award and was named one of Boston’s 100 Most Influential People of Color.  In June 2018, marking the 50th anniversary of the passing of Robert F. Kennedy, he received the Robert F. Kennedy “Embracing the Legacy” Award.

Commissioner Gross lives in Boston and has a son, William, Jr.