Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis speaks during a news conference on Sept. 23 as he announces that he is stepping down after seven years on the job.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola
BOSTON (AP) — Police Commissioner Edward Davis, a key figure in the investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing, announced Monday he would step down after seven years on the job, saying it was time for a change for both him and the city.
Davis, 57, said he was "leaning heavily" toward accepting a fellowship at Harvard University but was entertaining other offers as well. He did not completely rule out the possibility of a federal post in the future, but he said he was not planning on leaving the Boston area at this time.
Davis gained national stature after the April 15 bombing that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others, and the ensuing manhunt that ended several days later when one suspect was killed in a police shootout and another was arrested in neighboring Watertown. He appeared the following month before a congressional committee in Washington to discuss the sharing of information between city police and federal anti-terrorism officials.
"It's time for me to try other things," Davis said at a news conference at police headquarters in which he thanked Boston Mayor Thomas Menino for showing him the importance of connecting with the community. He also thanked his command staff, the department's rank-and-file officers and even the heads of police unions, with whom he generally had a far less adversarial relationship than some of his successors.
Davis said he would leave the post in the next 30 to 60 days, saying his exact departure date might hinge on the success of the Boston Red Sox. If the team was to advance to the World Series, Davis indicated he might stay on, presumably to coordinate crowd control in the event of a victory celebration.
Davis said he had been thinking about his future for several months and his departure will allow the city's next mayor to choose a new person to lead the department.
Menino announced in the spring that he would not seek a sixth term as mayor. Twelve candidates are vying in Tuesday's preliminary election, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the Nov. 5 general election.
"Over the past seven years, Ed Davis has served the people of Boston with integrity, a steady hand and compassion," Menino said in a statement Monday, adding that serious violent crime had decreased in the city during the commissioner's tenure.
Davis, who came to Boston after heading the Lowell Police Department, said criticism of the police department's record on diversity in the top ranks did not "in any way, shape or form" influence his decision to step down.
The department's command staff is made up of 42 percent minorities, Davis said, though he acknowledged that more needed to be done to improve diversity in the department and placed some of the blame on the state's rigid civil service requirements for police promotions.
Davis also said his department never concentrated crime-fighting efforts in any area at the expense of others, instead deploying resources as needed.
"We are focused on where the violence is occurring, not any particular neighborhood," he said.
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