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Commissioner Michael Cox sits down with Professor Jen Balboni during Social Justice Series event
April 01, 2024


On Wednesday, March 28, the ҹ첥 Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice was honored to welcome Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox, MACJ '00 back to campus during the Annual Social Justice Series. Commissioner Cox was the featured guest for the event, facilitated by Criminology and Criminal Justice Professor, Dr. Jennifer Balboni.

"It was an honor to have Commissioner Cox with us in our community,” said Balboni. “His story is one of courage in the face of tremendous adversity, resilience in persisting in the profession he loves, and inspiring leadership to facilitate change.”

Students in the audience were inspired by Commissioner Cox’s story, including junior Criminal Justice major Sebastian Kee, who said, “Listening to Police Commissioner Cox speak about his experiences was a great opportunity to hear about the power of somebody to overcome challenges in their career and rise as a leader.”

Commissioner Cox, who grew up in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston, shared his story of why he decided to become a police officer, and his rewarding but also challenging career path, which led to his current leadership role at BPD. This included his resilience in the face of police brutality and racial hostility chronicled in "The Fence: A Police Cover-up Along Boston's Racial Divide," along with his enduring philosophy of improving policing by building trust with the community through partnerships in an authentic community policing model.

“Being a police officer is a very important job. Community policing is about building relationships. It’s about putting the public first,” said Commissioner Cox.

“I was struck by how thoughtful he was in speaking not only in the plenary event, but also at dinner in one-on-one conversations with our students,” said Balboni. “He was genuinely humble about his own accomplishments and supportive of the students. We are incredibly fortunate to count him among our many alumni leaders in the field."