Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins is the first woman elected to that position, and the first woman of color to serve as a district attorney anywhere in Massachusetts.
Rollins was sworn in as Suffolk County’s 16th district attorney Wednesday.
She was administered the oath of office by Geraldine Hines, a former associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court and the first woman of color to serve on that high court.
In turn, she swore in about 150 Suffolk County prosecutors whom she oversees as the chief law enforcement officer for Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. The ceremony was held at Roxbury Community College.
“We have a big job ahead of us — changing perceptions and expectations of how the criminal justice system can best serve the community, and how necessary other disciplines are to our shared success,” she said in a statement. “Professionals in education, medical and mental health, social services, housing, and many other fields all play a part in public safety and we need their collaboration as surely as we need police and prosecutors. Positive change is in the air, and I’m looking forward to achieving it together with the people of Suffolk County.”
Rollins has been an attorney for two decades. She received degrees from Northeastern University School of Law and the Georgetown University Law Center. She previously served as a field attorney at the National Labor Relations Board in Boston and as an attorney with the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, including a rotation through the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office, according to a statement from her office.
She handled civil and criminal matters as a federal prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s office in Boston for four years before serving as general counsel for both MassDOT and the MBTA, and went on to become the chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.
A cancer survivor, a mother, and an aunt with custody of two nieces, Rollins was elected to her current position at the age of 47 with a mandate to change, reform, and improve the criminal justice system. She pledged to use that platform locally and nationally with the support and assistance of her prosecutorial staff and professionals from many other fields of expertise as well.