Kathleen O’Toole is holding meetings with key community leaders even though she has not been sworn in as Boston police commissioner, says the Boston Globe. “It is important that we become friends now when everyone is happy,” she told one group. “But it’s more important that we be close when we have a crisis too.”
Since Mayor Thomas Menino appointed her the city’s first female police commissioner five days ago, O’Toole has been on a whirlwind tour of the city. She has met with one police union and spoken to leaders of two others, visited an officer who had been shot, toured police headquarters, and fielded pointed questions from groups of Latino leaders and minority ministers. “People keep asking “When do you start?” said O’Toole. “I say “I started five minutes after the press conference [announcing her appointment] was over.”
A former state public safety secretary, O’Toole got her start as a police officer in the Boston Police Department 25 years ago. She will be sworn in next week. Said one police union official: “There is no resistance to her because she’s a leader. We needed a leader so badly. It could have been a munchkin as long as it was a leader.” The leader of a Latino group said, “She’s not on the job yet and the jury is still out, but first impressions last a long time.”
At a meeting yesterday with the Ten Point Coalition, an ecumenical group of clergy and others who help high-risk children, O’Toole gave the right answers to tough questions, said the Rev. Ray Hammond, coalition chairman. “People asked about racial profiling and the relationship between the police and the neighborhood. She made a clear and unequivocal statement that the department would have zero tolerance” for profiling.