Boston’s Mystery Search For A New Police Commissioner


It's been three months since former Boston police commissioner Kathleen O'Toole announced her departure. The Boston Phoenix says that Mayor Thomas Menino isn't making the mistake of rushing to name her replacement. In fact, a source close to the selection process says the mayor is not likely to swear in a new top cop until at least November. That doesn't jibe with the sense of urgency with which Menino spoke of the search process in May. The Phoenix surveyed police chiefs in more than a half-dozen big cities and learned that none had been contacted by anyone from Boston. Nor had anyone heard rumors about potential candidates.

“Usually I hear something,” one police chief told the Phoenix. The candidates for the open post in Newark are common knowledge, and there's some scuttlebutt about the open Minneapolis job, he says. “I'm not hearing anything about Boston.” A police chief from a city similar in size Boston to said he wasn't even aware the top job was open. Some in Boston speculate that Menino has already decided who he's going to name, but he wants to appear as if he's going through some sort of process. That perception is bolstered by the fact that Menino is relying on candidate suggestions from a handpicked advisory committee whose recommendations he's free to ignore. Had he relied on a formal search committee, he would have had to choose a commissioner from the committee's list.


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