O’Toole Honored by Éire Society
By Irish America Staff
May / June 2019
Three hundred guests attended the Éire Society of Boston’s dinner at which Kathleen M. O’Toole, former Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety and former Boston Police Commissioner, was recognized as the 2019 Gold Medal award recipient.
The award was presented at the Gold Medal dinner and awards ceremony, which took place on Saturday evening, April 27, 2019 at the Seaport Boston Hotel.
The Gold Medal is awarded annually to a person or persons who exemplify the best of Irish culture and ideals. It is presented to those who have made significant contributions in their field of expertise, which benefit society.
Kathleen M. O’Toole is a career police officer and lawyer with an international reputation for principled, effective leadership and reform. She was the first female commissioner of the Boston Police Department when she was appointed in February 2004.
In 2014 O’Toole became Seattle’s first female chief of police, and served until 2018. During O’Toole’s time there she led a major transformation project, which addressed all requirements of a settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and the city, and introduced to the force cutting-edge business practices and operational strategies, reducing crime and enhancing community trust.
O’Toole’s career also brought her to Ireland. In 1998, she served on the Patten Commission, the independent commission on policing for Northern Ireland, established as part of the Good Friday Agreement. In 2006, she left the Boston Police Department to move to Ireland. She was the first Chief Inspector of An Garda Síochána (Irish police) reporting to Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality on changes to improve efficiency in line with the best international practices. She returned to the U.S. to take up her position in Seattle in 2014.