State Police turn to O’Toole for management advice

As it tries to steady its ship amid myriad controversies, the Massachusetts State Police announced late last month that it is bringing former secretary of public safety and Boston Police commissioner Kathleen O’Toole on board as a management consultant. O’Toole will work on a pro bono basis to counsel State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin on the “recruitment of qualified and diverse candidates for employment and professional development and leadership training for existing personnel,” among other issues.

O’Toole served as a lieutenant colonel in the State Police in the early 1990s and was appointed by Gov. William Weld in 1994 to serve as secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, a position she held until 1998. In 2004, she was named the first female commissioner of the Boston Police Department and led that agency until 2006.

Upon leaving Boston, O’Toole moved to Ireland to work as chief inspector of the Gardia Síochána Inspectorate, which the State Police said is “an oversight body responsible for bringing reforms and greater accountability to the 17,000 member Irish national police service.” In 2014, O’Toole took the reins of the Seattle Police Department, a job from which she retired in December.

“Former Commissioner O’Toole possesses a wealth of knowledge about, and experience in, leading and bringing positive change to major police agencies, and my command staff and I look forward to her input and ideas about law enforcement to help improve the department,” Gilpin said in a statement.

In April, Gilpin and Gov. Charlie Baker announced changes intended to restore public confidence in an agency that has been beleaguered by one scandal after another in recent months, including the recent revelations that more than 20 troopers apparently put in for overtime shifts they did not work. Baker installed Gilpin as superintendent of the State Police in November after Col. Richard McKeon retired amidst a controversy over the department’s handling of an arrest report for the daughter of a central Massachusetts judge.