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‘She Thrives’: Boston Police Superintendent Nora Baston

Learn about Boston Police Superintendent Nora Baston as part of NBC10 Boston's "She Thrives: Black Women Making History in Boston" series this Black History Month

What to Know

  • This is the third in NBC10 Boston's "She Thrives" series, focusing on the achievements of black women in Boston during Black History Month.
  • Nora Baston is the fourth woman to ever be appointed as a Boston Police Superintendent.
  • Part of her job is to cultivate a positive relationship between Boston's youth and police officer.

A native of Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood, Nora Baston is the fourth woman to ever hold the post of Boston police superintendent.

She was a standout athlete at the prestigious Boston Latin School and at UMass Lowell, but it has been her willingness to share the "not so great parts" of her rise to success that has made her the leader of Boston Police Department's new community engagement bureau.

Part of Baston's master plan for the bureau is to cultivate a positive relationship between city kids and Boston officers.

"It's the most amazing job ever," Baston told NBC10 Boston. "I really feel like I'm dreaming."

She can usually be found volunteering with young people, such as the Kindergartners at St. John Paul II Catholic Academy in Lower Mills.

"Nora is really what I consider to be redefining community policing," Principal Lisa Warshafsky said.

Baston is honest with children about the bumps she's encountered along her journey to success, including that she was once a lackluster student who was barely eligible to play sports in high school and college until her family, coaches and teammates rallied around her.

"I was always wanting a 65 -- just passing -- and I used to give up and they'd say, 'No more, flip it and say 95,'" she said.

Their encouragement pushed her beyond anything she could have imagined, and she eventually got her master's degree.

"This is a kid who barely passed high school and didn't pass her SATs," she said, adding that she was able to persevere "because I started believing in myself and people pushing me and coaching me to believe in myself."

Baston became a Boston police officer in 1996 and started rising through the ranks from there.

As the only female superintendent currently serving on the force, Baston said she has experienced struggles as a black woman.

"Being a female, never mind a black female, in a predominately male job and its culture, they're not used to women in positions of power," Baston said. "It was a real struggle. It was hard. But once again I have so many friends on the job that I would call for advice."

Baston is now looking at her future in a different light after watching the recent elections of high-profile women in Massachusetts.

"It really made me feel great about myself and inspired me to dream bigger, like I want to be chief, someday I want to be commissioner," she said.

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