On Monday, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Commissioner William Gross today announced the formation of the Bureau of Community Engagement at the Boston Police Department. Charged with overseeing a citywide effort to further strengthen community policing in Boston, the Bureau will focus on ways to build relationships and trust between law enforcement and residents, create new and innovative partnerships, and promote inclusion and diversity within the department.
Commissioner Gross has appointed Deputy Superintendent Nora Baston to serve as Bureau Chief, and has promoted her to Superintendent.
“Boston is a model city in our nation for having strong police-community relations, and our goal is to continue building trust and positive relationships between law enforcement officers and community members,” said Mayor Walsh. “With this new bureau, we are doubling down on our efforts to connect with residents in their neighborhood and offer a hand of support. There is no better person to lead this effort than Superintendent Nora Baston, who has shown throughout her career her commitment to the people of Boston.”
“In Boston we understand that to best serve our people, we have to work in partnership with them to make sure our residents and our neighborhoods are safe,” said Commissioner Gross. “One of my top priorities as Commissioner is strengthening the foundation we’ve set in our community policing model, and I know Superintendent Baston will do an excellent job in ensuring that we’re able to reach even more residents and help them feel connected to our movement here in Boston.”
As Bureau Chief, Superintendent Baston will ensure that every district has a dedicated and robust community policing effort, concentrating on building relationships where they don’t exist and strengthening ties with the community.
Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh, the Boston Police Department has prioritized community policing as an effective way to reduce crime, while building trust with the community. In part as a result of that effort, since 2014 through 2017, there has been a 17 percent reduction in overall Part 1 crime in the City of Boston. In addition, continued efforts to target and reduce violence have resulted in 44 less non-fatal shootings as compared to this time last year, while arrests are down by 914, representing an 11 percent reduction compared to the same time last year.
The Boston Police Department received national recognition from the Obama Administration in 2015 as being one of the top cities in the nation that is leading the way on community policing.
As part of Boston’s overall community policing strategy, the Boston Police Department prioritizes relationships with youth and the community as the key to building trust and creating safe neighborhoods. This starts with an emphasis on daily interactions on the streets and in school classrooms, and includes proactive prevention and diversion for at-risk youth and their families. In addition, the department provides positive pathways for our youth through programs such as Operation Exit and My Brother’s Keeper. The BPD has strong partnerships and year-round district activities with residents through Coffee with A Cop, National Night Out, youth and police dialogues, teen police academy, flashlight walks, Shop with a Cop, and more.
Superintendent Baston has been a member of the Command staff for 11 years, holds the rank of civil service lieutenant, and is a 22-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. Previous to this promotion, as Deputy Superintendent she was the Commander of the Community Support Division, and has also served as Zone Commander of Area E, as the Homeless Liaison, and as Coordinator of the Safe Street Teams Initiative. Prior to her appointment as Deputy, Nora was a Sergeant in District C11 (Dorchester) and District B2 (Roxbury); and a police officer in District B3 (Mattapan) and District E13 (Jamaica Plain). Superintendent Baston has received numerous community policing and leadership awards over the course of her career. A lifelong Boston resident and graduate of Boston Latin School, Superintendent Baston is committed to providing mentoring and support to inner city youth.