Davis Resigns as BPD Chief Commissioner
At 57, Davis Resigns from Career Marked by Lower Crime Rates
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 22:09
After seven years of service, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis announced his resignation Monday morning.
After a career distinguished by falling crime rates and a successful response to the Boston Marathon bombings, Davis, 57, feels that it’s time to move on.
While he analyzes his next career goal, he’s planning to pursue a fellowship at Harvard University with the Institute of Politics. Amid speculation that Davis will seek a higher-profile job, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and several new mayoral candidates have profusely thanked Davis for his service to the City of Boston.
Menino appointed Davis to police commissioner in 2006 after serving as Lowell’s superintendent of police. During his tenure he saw a 30 percent decline in violent crime in Boston. His most notable moments, however, came during the Boston Marathon bombings last April. Davis garnered national attention for his calm and efficient response to the bombings that killed three people and injured over 260.
Davis, backed by Menino and Governor Deval Patrick, ordered a citywide lockdown while BPD searched tirelessly for the suspects. His demeanor during multiple press conferences spurred nation-wide praise and led him to be awarded with honorary degrees from Northeastern and Suffolk University.
While speaking at the University of Massachusetts Lowell commencement ceremony, Davis reflected on his experience during the Boston Marathon bombings: “I learned to think the unthinkable. I learned that the most horrific of circumstances can produce the most inspirational and heroic of actions, not just by one single person, but by hundreds of them.”
Menino thanked Davis for his “tremendous service over the past seven years,” reminding the city of Boston how Davis had served with “with integrity, a steady hand, and compassion.” Menino and Davis collaborated heavily to reduce crime in Boston during Davis’ time with the department.
Their partnership was seen most clearly during their joint response to events at the Marathon. “During some of our city’s most trying days, Commissioner Davis worked relentlessly to protect the safety of all our citizens,” Menino said in a statement released Monday.
The mayor also mentioned that he would be working to make the transition in the police department as smooth as possible until the new mayor appoints a commissioner.
Davis will step down in the next 30 to 60 days, depending on the success of the Red Sox in the playoffs and the need for crowd control. Since Menino’s announcement last spring that he would not seek reelection for the office of mayor, many have speculated that Davis would be stepping down soon. A source close to Davis said “he views himself as a team with the mayor.” Davis’ announcement of resignation comes just a day before the first preliminary election for mayor. He stated that he wanted to make the announcement before the election so people did not think the outcome influenced his decision to resign.
Several of the mayoral candidates have made statements thanking Davis for his service.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with him closely and can attest to his integrity, his professionalism and his compassion,” said candidate Dan Conley, the current District Attorney. “Ed loved his job, he genuinely cares for the people of Boston, and he is leaving Boston and the Boston Police Department better places. I can think of no higher praise.”
Similarly candidate Rob Consalvo thanked Davis by noting that “Davis displayed uncommon valor and leadership in the aftermath of the Marathon bombings and he has served our city well.”
After meeting with many congressional committees last spring to discuss the sharing of information between city police and federal agents on anti-terrorism measures, Davis sparked a significant amount of discussion regarding his future career options. In recent weeks, Davis was mentioned among several other potential candidates to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
While there is still not an appointee for this position, Davis insists that he will not be discussing future positions at this time.
The fellowship at Harvard University will allow Davis time to think about these opportunities outside the busy atmosphere of the police department. In wishing the next mayor and police commissioner success, Davis said that “the new mayor should have a clean slate and pick the commissioner that he or she wants.”
While Davis enjoyed success during his tenure, some people criticized him for not giving enough attention to the structure of the police force. Davis mostly focused his efforts on reducing gun violence and crime.
Many communities in Boston have praised him for his approachability and his emphasis on community policing, a practice that involves officers building relationships within the communities they serve. Those who criticize Davis, however, point to the structure of his police force, asserting that he has not done enough to increase the diversity among officers and administrators in the force.
While the department’s staff is currently made up of 42 percent minorities, Davis himself acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve diversity in the department.