Kathleen M. (Horton) O'Toole was the first Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate, set up to ensure that the resources available to the Garda Síochána are used so as to achieve and maintain the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness in its operation and administration, as measured by reference to the best standards of comparable police services and report to Ireland's Minister for Justice and Equality on changes to improve efficiency in line with best international practice.
She was the first female police commissioner of Boston, Massachusetts when appointed by the Mayor of Boston. She was appointed by mayor Thomas M. Menino in February 2004. On 9 May 2006, O'Toole officially announced that she was leaving the Boston Police Department to move to Ireland.
She was born in 1954 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts at age 13 and to Boston, Massachusetts at age 18. She has resided in Boston since that time. She graduated from Boston College with a B.A. in 1976 and from New England School of Law with a JD in 1982.
Her career includes service as Lieutenant Colonel of Massachusetts State Police from 1992 to 1994; she was appointed to the cabinet position of Secretary, Executive Office of Public Safety in Massachusetts, by Governor Weld in 1994 and served in this position until 1998. She then became a member of the Patten Commission headed by Lord Patten of Barnes which reformed policing in Northern Ireland and led to the formation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
While serving as Commissioner of the Boston Police, O'Toole was a central figure in the controversy surrounding the fatal shooting of Victoria Snelgrove during the celebrations of the Boston Red Sox victory over the rival New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series, in which riot police fired a "less lethal" pepper spray round, which missed its intended target and struck Ms Snelgrove in the eye, entering her brain and killing her. While Commissioner O'Toole demoted one superintendent and suspended two officers involved in the incident, no prosecution or dismissal was brought against any officer in the case.
The Garda Inspectorate, which will have three members, will examine operational, investigative, managerial and policing strategies to ensure that these meet best practice. Her role within the Garda will be to clean up the current spate of scandal in the Gardaí. The Morris Tribunal pronounced that it was "staggered" by the level of indiscipline and insubordination in the force and the Irish Government is to respond with a revised code of discipline.
She served her full term of office and was asked to stay on until the new Chief Inspector could take up his position in July 2012. She remains a director of a company registered in Ireland; the company report gives her address as the flat above the offices of the Garda Inspectorate in Stephen's Green, Dublin.
She is married to Dan O'Toole, now a retired Boston police officer. They have one daughter, Meghan, who received her masters from National University of Ireland, Galway.
- Williams, Jeanne C., "Googled: Kathleen O’Toole ’76, top cop", @BC, Boston College, November 2004
- Murphy, Anne, "On her watch: The long, hot summer of Boston Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole '76", Boston College Magazine, Fall 2005.
- Government Statement regarding Reports of the Morris Tribunal - Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dublin, Ireland. (archived 2007)
Thomas C. Rapone
|Secretary, Executive Office of Public Safety, Comm. Of Massachusetts
Paul F. Evans
|Commissioner of the Boston Police Department
Edward F. Davis
|Chief Inspector of the Garda Inspectorate
Robert K. Olson