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New Boston P.D. Chief Named

By Irina L Vaynerman, Contributing Writer

There will be a new cop on the block the next time that The Game returns to Harvard in 2008. Edward F. Davis will assume the post of commissioner of the Boston Police starting Dec. 1, the department announced Monday.

Davis, who will be replacing Kathleen M. O’Toole—who resigned in June to assume the position of chief of Ireland’s national police force—has served as superintendent of police in Lowell, Mass. for the past 12 years.

“Ed Davis is a good pick,” said Jerry P. McDermott, the Boston city councilman who represents Allston and Brighton. 

“This seems like the kind of hands-on approach we need. He is concerned that the job gets done and it gets right, he’s not a shameless self-promoter,” McDermott said.

While Davis will be in charge of the citywide force, it’s the District D-4 commander, Captain William Evans, not the commissioner, who has been the public face of the department’s tailgating policies, which have become more strict in recent years.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a press release Monday that there has been a “dramatic decrease in crime” in Lowell during Davis’ tenure.

“Ed Davis is a man with stellar public safety credentials and is highly respected by many in the law enforcement community, both in Massachusetts and nationally,” Menino said. Under Davis’ command, the Lowell Police Department received a “Police as Problem Solvers” award by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000. Lowell was one of five cities nationwide to receive the award.

Pearl H. Rapala, a resident of Lowell, said that Davis’ leadership has had an impact on the community.

“Crime all the way around had gone down when he was in charge. This is a great loss for Lowell. Lucky for Boston,” she said.

Not all Boston residents are as pleased with Davis’ appointment, however.

Leonard C. Alkins, president of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, expressed his concern with the selection process, questioning in particular whether a diversity policy was in place.

“Davis is eminently qualified. The only concern that I have is the process that was used to select the commissioner. It was flawed,” Alkins said.

Alkins said he was certain some black candidates for the position were overlooked, but declined to give names.

“The Mayor of Boston continuously ignores the concerns of the community as we talk about diversity in new leadership positions,” Alkins said.

Nevertheless, he added, “Davis is fair, open-minded, and will listen to outside organizations. There’s room to address the serious concerns of our community of color.”

According to a news release prepared by the Boston Police Department, Menino established an advisory committee which recommended a “series of highly qualified candidates.” The candidates were then interviewed by Menino.

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