Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O’Toole is a rarity in the resolutely male world of law enforcement nationwide, the Boston Globe reports. Only 1 percent of the nation’s police departments, and only three other big city departments, are headed by women. The “girl thing” is not something that O’Toole, 50, likes to talk about, the Globe says in a profile. She is an avid supporter of the advancement of other women but does not consider herself a feminist. As for whether her gender made it harder to rise to this pinnacle of law enforcement her answer is an adamant no. “I don’t want to sound like a conceited egomaniac,” she says. “But I worked very hard to compete for the positions I have had. I really don’t think gender should matter.”
One year into the job, O’Toole is described as an able and thoughtful, if somewhat inscrutable, leader by many among the nearly 2,047 police officers she commands. She has, observers say, moved to reenergize the department’s commitment to community policing and to press publicly for greater “transparency” about what the department does and why.