Robert Ciccolo wasn’t always sure he knew what career he wanted to pursue until he joined the Boston Police Cadets Program in the early 1980s. Growing up with a father and uncle as police officers, there was the decision of following in their footsteps or choosing a new path.
In a 2020 interview, Ciccolo said, “Policing wasn’t always my first choice. I was a young man who wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. It wasn’t like all my life I wanted to be a cop like my dad. I wasn’t sure as a teen. Then I graduated high school and decided to look at the cadet program. The Cadets are wonderful because it allowed me to work in the Police Department before I actually became a police officer.”
Ultimately, Ciccolo chose to take after his family members and officially was sworn in as an officer of the Boston Police Department in 1987, four years after beginning as a cadet. The Ciccolo family continues to hold a legacy in BPD as his nephew is the latest to join the ranks, and his niece also joined the department for a short period before becoming a Boston Firefighter.
In his policing career, Ciccolo has been presented with a variety of opportunities and positions in Districts B and E. He started out as a Sergeant in multiple neighborhoods in Boston including Mattapan, quickly ascending to the rank of Lieutenant in Jamaica Plain in the early 2000s. He then was promoted to Captain where he took on roles including Division Commander of the Hackney Unit, Operations, and the Hyde Park District. In recent years, before his final posting as Captain in District A-1, Ciccolo was Night Command for the North Zone, acting as a City-Wide Commander.
Even with his established and respected career, Ciccolo has not been immune to some small controversies. His son, who suffers from severe mental illness, was arrested in July 2015 after a federal sting operation focused on a terrorist plot, inspired by ISIS. He was sentenced to serve 20 years in federal prison. Despite this, Ciccolo was commended across the media for making the difficult decision to alert the FBI about his son, likely saving countless lives that his son was seeking to harm.
During his term in Night Command, Ciccolo and other BPD officers from District A-1 were recognized for their work. Officers were notified of armed individuals returning to the ICON nightclub in the early hours of March 2nd, 2019, following an altercation. After a struggle with one of the suspects, he was subsequently placed under arrest and the firearm was removed. Ciccolo, the Sergeant, and other officers were able to handle the situation with no further violence and afterward, they were each awarded a Commissioner’s Commendation for their efforts and making the streets safer.
Most recently, Ciccolo, as BPD District A-1 Captain, wanted to know the citizens of these towns on a more personal level. Because was such variety between everything in the district, it provided some difficulty at first to figure out how to work efficiently with everyone. At this time, it was 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic was bringing more challenges than solutions to the communities and how to promote safety. Since Ciccolo came into this position with now 35 years of experience under his belt, he was able to instill confidence in the city and those he would be working alongside.
Also while in this role, Ciccolo perfected the District level homeless outreach program and was seen by the community as a leader who actually could resolve many of the issues that had gone untouched. Ciccolo, speaking about outreach said he noticed many of the same names appearing over and over in police reports so he tasked his detective supervisors to determine why these individuals were having such frequent police encounters.
Ciccolo conducted weekly meetings with different outreach and emergency services in these areas to find practical solutions. Not only was he trying to reduce the number of police contacts for the homeless population, but his goal was to give housing and find programs for those who need it. He will most definitely be missed in the outreach community.
In 2020, the Live Boston Team highlighted the District Commanders’ surprisingly quick and spry actions in almost single-handed apprehending a fleeing rapist.
To ring in the new year, Captain Robert Ciccolo was recently promoted to the Department’s third highest rank of Superintendent. He will be assigned to the Bureau of Administration and Technology as their Bureau Chief. The Superintendent position is considered third in command, only outranked by Superintendent-in-Chief and Commissioner.
This is also the first major promotion made by Commissioner Cox. He will be the head of at least nine different units in this bureau, including technology, finance, operations, and much more. Ciccolo has proven himself to thrive in all sorts of positions within the police department and continues to improve in every capacity. While he enters his fortieth year in the police force, everyone is eagerly anticipating what comes next as Superintendent Ciccolo steps into this new role!