(Updated) Boston police commissioner resigns, may teach at Harvard

boston police commissioner ed davis
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis speaks about his resignation.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

During his resignation announcement, police Commissioner Ed Davis said he had been thinking about leaving for months, but two things have kept him in place: the summer and the Red Sox success. 

Davis, who for seven years led the Boston Police Department, announced on Monday that he will resign and has been offered a fellowship to teach at Harvard.

He said he made a commitment to Mayor Thomas Menino that he would stay on through the summer months when violence typically spikes.

Davis said that he would leave his post as Boston’s top cop in the next 30 to 60 days, but it depends on the Red Sox playoff run and if he is needed to oversee the police response to it.

“I don’t want to jinx anything, but if a certain sports team happens to get into the finals I’ll probably stick around for that,” said Davis, being careful not to name the Red Sox.

Explaining his resignation to reporters yesterday, Davis said that he was leaving on his own terms and that Menino’s decision not to seek another term prompted Davis to “reassess” his future.

“I feel very positive about leaving at this time, on my time line, knowing that I will be leaving the department having done my very best and achieved much success with the BPD. The department is in much better shape now than when I came here,” he said.

Menino will likely appoint an interim commissioner and will leave the appointment of a permanent department head for the next mayor.

Menino named Davis police commissioner in 2006. Before that he led the Lowell Police Department.

During his tenure in Boston, Davis has been known for his approach to community policing. He instituted Safe Street Teams to expand walking patrols by officers and he was often spotted at homicide and other crime scenes. The city’s murder rate also fell nearly every year since Davis took over.

And while his most recent accomplishment may be his highly praised and extremely public response to the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent manhunt, Davis’ tenure in Boston is not without controversy.

He addressed several questions about criticism from a minority officers group about diversity in the higher ranks of the department.

Davis said he was proud that 42 percent of his command staff were “persons of color and diverse.”

Meanwhile, Davis said he has several “interesting” offers that will take him a few months to sort out. The only offer her confirmed was for a fellowship at Harvard.

While he said he hasn’t accepted Harvard’s offer, Davis said he is leaning in the direction of Cambridge.

“I have always wanted to have a connection with Harvard University,” Davis said.

Davis has been suggested as a candidate to replace Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, but he would not comment on if he would want that job or if it has been offered to him.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


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