Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis on Monday morning confirmed reports that he will resign from his position within 60 days, but said he has yet to decide if he will then accept a fellowship at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
“It is time to go,” Davis said at a press conference at the Boston Police Department headquarters, which was attended by about 30 journalists. He pointed to the fact that his seven-year tenure at the department has been double the average duration of police commissioners’ terms nationwide.
Davis also remarked that his decision is connected to Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s announcement that he will not run for a sixth term in office.
“When the Mayor leaves, you have to reassess,” Davis said. “That is what I’m doing.”
In regard to his future plans, Davis said that he is currently holding multiple offers, and that it will take him a “couple of months” to eventually come to a decision. However, Davis affirmed that he is “heavily leaning” toward accepting the position at the IOP.
“I have always wanted to have a connection with Harvard University,” Davis said. “I am very proud to say that I’ve been offered a fellowship.”
Further specifications on what the fellowship would include and what his focus would be at the University were not disclosed, but the IOP confirmed that Davis has been offered a position.
“We are pleased Commissioner Davis is considering further engagement with Harvard’s Institute of Politics and would welcome his participation,” wrote Esten Perez, communications director for the IOP, in an email to The Crimson.
Davis declined to comment on rumors that he might be lined up as a possible successor to Janet Napolitano, who stepped down as Secretary of Homeland Security in September to become president of the University of California system. Since Napolitano’s departure, Rand Beers has led the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as acting secretary.
Davis’s tenure as police commissioner has not been without controversy. The Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers has accused Davis of racial favoritism in assigning promotions to the department officers, criticizing the underrepresentation of minority officers in recent rounds of promotions, as well as the absence of minority officers at the levels of district heads. The group called on Davis to resign through a vote of no-confidence in early August.
During Monday’s press conference, Davis defended his track record on diversity and affirmed that his decision to leave has nothing to do with those accusations. Davis also said that he leaves the department “with success.”
“I am proud of my record. Diversity is one of the most controversial issues in our society,” Davis said. “I hope my successors will keep diversity high in their list of priorities.”
Davis cited the murder of 22-year-old Mission Hill resident Rebecca Payne in 2008 and last April’s Boston Marathon bombings and the subsequent manhunt as some of the most difficult moments of his tenure as commissioner.
Boston mayoral candidate Daniel F. Conley, who was also present at the press conference, spoke in praise of Davis’s leadership in the face of such situations.
“[Davis] is one of the top police managers in the country,” Conley said. “The next commissioner will have very big shoes to fill.”
—Staff writer Antonio Coppola can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @AntonioCoppolaC.
—Staff writer John P. Finnegan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @finneganspake.