Michael Cox

Michael Cox will be Boston’s next police commissioner
Michael Cox will be Boston’s next police commissioner

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Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Wednesday that a former Boston police officer who was beaten up more than 25 years ago by colleagues who mistakenly mistook him for a fatal shooting suspect will be the new chief of the city’s police department.

Mayor Michelle Wu chose Michael Cox, the 30-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who rose through the ranks before taking a job to lead a department in Ann Arbor, Michigan, three years ago, to become the city’s next police commissioner.

Cox told reporters his appointment was an “emotional moment” for him.

He has promised to work to diversify the police department – which critics have long complained about doesn’t look as adequate as the city it serves – and to make sure officers feel supported in their work to protect the community.

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Wu, on a Zoom call with reporters ahead of her official announcement Wednesday morning, said Cox is leading her with “a sense of possibility, a deep belief in what we can achieve together, and a deep love for the city he grew up in and would come home.”

“I think this is a very exciting time,” Cox told reporters on Wednesday. “I think the officers need someone to support them.” “I am going to be their biggest fan.”

Cox joined the Boston Police Department in 1989 and rose through the years, becoming part of the commanding staff and directing various units of the force.

Cox, a Roxbury native and long-time resident of Dorchester, called the move homecoming for him, and focused on making sure officers have management support and that they build community trust, particularly during a difficult time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

His last Boston position was supervisor of the Office of Professional Development, but as noted Wednesday, his experience within the department is diverse.

At times in his career, he has managed Internal Affairs, the 911 call center, the Police Academy, and served as Deputy Superintendent of Investigative Services.

Boston’s last commissioner – Dennis White – was fired last year after a bitter battle to keep his job after accusations of domestic violence surfaced decades ago.

White was given time off over the allegations, which he denied, just days after his new job.

Cox later sued the management and implicated some of the officers. Some of those involved were shot, but others remained in force.