By Chris Francescani
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who was thrust into the national spotlight by the Boston Marathon bombings in April, is poised to announce he is stepping down at the end of the year, a law enforcement source said on Sunday.
Davis plans to hold a news conference at police headquarters at 10 a.m. EDT on Monday to discuss his future plans, Boston police spokeswoman Neva Coakley said.
It remains unclear exactly what those plans entail but close friends said they do not expect Davis to retire.
“He’s rumored to be under consideration for (secretary of) Homeland Security, and I know for a fact he’s been sought after by the private sector and other (foreign) governments,” said former Boston Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“I don’t think we’re seeing the last of Ed Davis in any sense,” said Bratton, who has known Davis for 20 years.
CBS News reported that Davis’ plans may include part-time teaching at nearby Harvard University.
Davis was appointed commissioner of the Boston Police Department in 2006 by Mayor Thomas Menino. He is expected to announce that he will remain on the job until the end of the year, when Menino leaves office, according to a police source briefed on Davis’ plans.
Prior to his current post, Davis spent 12 years as superintendent of the Lowell, Massachusetts, Police Department, a time period when crime fell by 60 percent, according to Menino’s office.
Davis is well-known in international law enforcement circles, having worked to broker compromises between Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as Israel and the Palestinians, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based policing think tank.
Davis was among a delegation of U.S. police chiefs who helped Wexler arrange a series of secret meetings between Israeli and Palestinian police chiefs earlier this year.
“He’s going to be very hard to replace,” Wexler said.
Davis was an early proponent of social media as a policing tool, creating direct dialogue with residents over Twitter and Facebook, and at times sidestepping the media altogether, an effort that paid off during the Marathon bombings investigation.
In the confusion and chaos following the April 15 bombings, which killed three and wounded more than 260, the Boston Police “accomplished what no police department has done before: led (online) conversation with citizens in a time of crisis,” the technology blog Mashable wrote in an April post titled “Boston Police Schooled Us All on Social Media.”
The Boston Police Department’s Twitter following grew from 40,000 to 300,000 after the attacks.
Davis has been criticized for not promoting more minority officers to leadership positions.
Last month, the head of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers called for Davis to resign, according to the Boston Globe.
The Lowell, Massachusetts, native had also been urged to make the civil service exam more equitable for non-whites.
Davis said that 42 percent of his command staff are minorities, the newspaper reported.
The city set aside $2.2 million to revamp the test, Davis said in a letter on the department’s website, which will be used beginning next year.