10/25/2006

Mayor names Superintendent Davis as chief of Boston police

By Christopher Scott, Sun Staff
Lowell Sun
Copyright 2006 MediaNews Group, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

LOWELL- Police Superintendent Edward Davis, who narrowly missed being named Boston's top cop in February 2004, met late yesterday with Mayor Thomas Menino in his home, and when the meeting concluded, Davis emerged as Boston's new police commissioner.

Davis, who turned 50 in July, will work his first day in the Hub on Dec. 4.

He replaces Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole, who resigned in May to accept the position of inspector general in the Garda Soichana, Ireland's 12,000-member national police force.

Davis declined to comment last night. He and Menino are scheduled to appear together at a press conference today at Boston City Hall at 3 p.m.

The Sun has learned that Menino was impressed with Davis in number of ways, including community policing and neighborhood outreach.

Clergy and neighborhood activists in Boston have also told Menino and city councilors in Boston that O'Toole's replacement must be well-versed in those areas to stem violent crime.

City Manager Bernie Lynch and Mayor Bill Martin, however, said they are sorry to Davis leave.

"I am disappointed, but still I wish Ed only the best," said Lynch, who assumed the manager's duties on July 31. "His position certainly wasn't one that I was anticipating filling during my first few months in office, and I didn't anticipate a change being needed there, either.

"I've only been impressed with Ed, and I wish him the best," said Lynch.

"It's too bad for Lowell but very good for Boston," said Martin. "The Lowell Police Department, under Ed, really flourished."

Lynch said his next step is to choose an acting superintendent before discussing a search process to find Davis' successor.

Speculation about Davis being in the hunt for the Boston job a second time has been quietly circulating for a couple of months. But unlike the first selection process, when Davis applied for the job, this time around he said he would only consider leaving Lowell for Boston if Boston came calling.

And it did.

In late summer, Davis had lunch with David D'Alessandro, the retired chairman and chief executive officer of John Hancock Insurance Co., in D'Alessandro's Hancock Tower office. D'Alessandro was screening potential candidates on behalf of the mayor and a search committee.

At the time, Davis declined to discuss his meeting or even confirm that it happened. But some of Davis' close acquaintances said the meeting went well.

Davis has spent his entire 28-year law-enforcement career in Lowell, beginning by patrolling the streets of Centralville and Pawtucketville. During his first attempt at securing the Boston job two years ago, he called it, "the premier law-enforcement job in New England."

For Davis, who has a respected record in community policing and reducing crime in Lowell, 2006 has proven especially busy, with 11 homicides, compared to just two in 2005.

But detectives have made arrests in all but two of the murders: the Feb. 28 beating of Hermes Pena, 60, whose body was found behind the Salvation Army headquarters on Appleton Street, and the May 20 beating of Dennis Bilodeau, 22, outside Captain John's Restaurant on Westford Street.

Boston has also seen its homicide rate rise. The city notched its 54th homicide on Oct. 1, when a 17-year-old Dorchester youth died from multiple gunshot wounds. At the same time last year, the city had recorded 49 homicides, a 10-year high.

Menino named O'Toole commissioner, over Davis and two other top candidates from within the department, in February 2004. O'Toole's predecessor, Paul Evans, resigned in November 2003 to accept a police standards position within the British government.

During that selection process, Davis was asked to apply for the job by former U.S. Attorney Wayne Budd, whom Davis knows well.

The committee screened about 20 applicants, eventually sending four finalists to Menino, including Davis and O'Toole, a former state public-safety commissioner. 
 
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will announce today that Lowell Police Superintendent Edward Davis is the new Boston police commissioner.

Edward Davis was a finalist for the Boston job in 2004. This time, Mayor Thomas Menino was impressed enough to offer him the position.

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