BOSTON — Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis formally announced Monday he’s stepping down as the city’s top cop — a post he’s held for the last seven years.
“The truth of the matter is it’s time to try other things,” Davis said at a standing-room-only news conference at police headquarters in Roxbury. “I have some great opportunities. I accomplished more than I expected so I’m very satisfied that this is the time for me to leave.”
During his tenure as commissioner, violent crime decreased in Boston by 30 percent, and Davis won high praise — and rose to national prominence — for his leadership and calm demeanor in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.
It wasn’t long afterward, he said, that he began thinking about leaving his post. Just before the summer he told Mayor Thomas Menino of his intentions. Davis said his wife and three children also played a role in his decision.
“They’ve had to suffer through … this very public job so they’re very excited that I’m leaving and a little relieved,” he said.
The fifty-seven-year-old Davis plans to stay in Boston; he’s looking at several positions, including a fellowship offer at Harvard University. He wouldn’t comment on speculation that he’s in the running for a federal post.
In a written statement, Menino thanked Davis for his “tremendous work” and announced he would appoint an interim commissioner until a new mayor picks a permanent replacement.
Davis’ resignation comes one day before the preliminary election to succeed Menino. Five of the 12 candidates have said they would not keep Davis on, saying he has not done enough to hire and promote minorities in the police department.
On Monday, Davis defended his record.
“The controversy that’s been in the papers recently has had no effect on my leaving this department in any way, shape or form,” he said. “My command staff that I promote myself is 42 percent of people of color and diversity. I’m proud of that record.”
Deputy Superintendent of Police William Gross, an African-American, has steadily risen through the ranks under Davis.
“I’ll miss him,” Gross said. “Not only did he promote me, he’s a great mentor as well.”
Gross has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Davis.
As for Davis, after almost four decades in law enforcement, he said there is one thing he’ll miss.
“When I drive down the street and see someone committing a crime it will be hard not to jump out of the car,” he said. “That’s the hardest part of this.”
Davis plans to leave the department in 30 to 60 days.
This post was updated with the All Things Considered feature version.