After holding the position for about seven years, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis announced on Monday that he is resigning from the department with several offers lined up for when he leaves in a few months.
“It is time for me to try other things,” Davis said at a press conference on Monday. “I have some great opportunities. I have done everything I can here. I have accomplished more than I expected, so I am very satisfied that it’s time for me to leave.”
Davis said he told Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Saturday, although he had been considering his options before the summer months.
“It is time to go,” he said. “I feel very positive about leaving on my timeline. I leave the department on my own accord. I wanted to clear the deck for the new administration.’’
He said he did not yet decide on what he would do next, but he was considering several offers, including a fellowship at Harvard University that would start in January.
“I have always wanted to have a connection with Harvard University, and I’m very proud to say that I’ve been offered a fellowship at Harvard,” he said. “I have not accepted that, this is not a done deal, but I am leaning heavily in that direction.”
He said his resignation would take effect in 30 to 60 days, depending on the city’s needs and if the Boston Red Sox baseball team wins the World Series.
Menino said in a Monday press release that Davis served the people of Boston “with integrity, a steady hand and compassion,” and that violent crime has decreased substantially under his watch.
“On behalf of the entire City of Boston, I thank Commissioner Davis for his leadership and tireless commitment to improve the quality of life for the people of Boston,” he said. “We will work together over the coming days to ensure a smooth transition as a new mayor is elected and appoints his or her own Commissioner for the Boston Police Department.”
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, who is also a mayoral candidate to replace Menino, said he was saddened by the news that Davis was retiring.
“I’m personally disappointed he’s leaving,” he said. “I was looking forward to working with him for years to come.”
Davis’s tenure has not been without controversy. The Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers accused Davis of racial favoritism in assigning promotions to department officers and the absence of minority officers in the department. The group wrote a letter to Davis asking him to resign through a vote of no-confidence on Aug. 6.
Davis defended his record on diversity and said his decision to leave had nothing to do with those accusations.
“I am proud of my record,” he said. “Diversity is one of the most controversial issues in our society. I hope my successors will keep diversity high in their list of priorities.”
Some residents said Davis did not perform his job well.
“I don’t think he really did a good job,” said Fouad Helim, 35, resident of Boston. “With the Boston [Marathon] bombing, he should have been able to stop it before it happened. It was a lesson learned for whoever comes next, so they should definitely be able to do a better job.”
Other residents said Davis was an inspiration for the city of Boston, especially because of the Boston Marathon bombings.
“It’s too bad because there’s going to be a real shake up,” said Lisa Stratton, 54, projectionist in Boston. “With Menino leaving soon too, all the older, more experienced people are leaving and all the inexperienced people are moving in together. It’s going to be interesting … I thought he spoke really well and represented Boston really well through the bombing. “
Jody Mendoza, owner of a mojitos bar in Boston, said when tragedy strikes, someone must take the lead, and he believes Davis handled the situation well considering the circumstances.
“He wasn’t the most amazing police commissioner in the world, but things are pretty good in Boston, so he obviously did his job well,” he said. “Things could be a lot worse, so I’d say he did his job well.”
Davis was appointed as commissioner on Dec. 1, 2006. He started his police career as a patrol officer in the Lowell Police Department in 1978. He rose through the ranks and because Superintendent of Police in Lowell for 12 years prior to becoming commissioner.
Steven Dufour contributed to the reporting of this article.