Neva Coakley-Grace, a former Boston police officer, has been named chief of the Boston Public Schools Safety Services Department.

“Chief Coakley-Grice brings decades of experience forging relationships with young people and a child-centered disposition that will ensure the entire team is prepared to welcome students and staff into our schools every day,” said Superintendent Brenda Cassellius.

Coakley-Grice will manage nearly 80 people in 55 schools and her top priority will be the safety of all the students, the department said. 

During her 27 years with the Boston Police Department, Coakley-Grice focused on helping kids, as a rookie working with South Boston youth groups, in the gang prevention unit, in media relations, and finally in the community engagement bureau.

Coakley-Grice replaces Eric Weston, who is retiring after 34 years with the department.