A Tribute for Gary French

Lt. Gary French has retired from the Boston Police Department.

Gary served most notably as commander of the Youth Violence Strike Force in which capacity he pioneered police practices that helped to save uncountable numbers of lives.  Gary served as commander during most of the development and implementation of Operation Cease Fire, succeeding Sgt. Paul Joyce in that role.  The Cease Fire strategy developed with David Kennedy and partners in Probation, the Black clergy, the US Attorney and state and county prosecutors and Streetworkers saved lives and changed practices nationwide.

Everybody wishes Gary a long and happy life after the BPD.  His success brings to mind a definition of succeeding that is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson but was actually popularized by Dear Abby.  It still fits Gary like a glove.

“To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.

This is to have succeeded.”


About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at www.sergeantsleadership.org. I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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