Boston Police Chief Pick Hangs in Election Balance

By Joykrit Mitra
BU News Service

At the end of the Boston mayoral race tonight, one major issue will immediately confront whoever wins: Who will fill Ed Davis’s shoes as the next police commissioner?

Since Davis stepped down Friday, there has been little speculation in the media about his successor. In the meantime, William Evans, hero of the Boston Bombings, has been picked by Mayor Tom Menino as interim commissioner.

Crime rates have generally gone down on Menino’s watch, but gun violence continues to plague the city. Further, this is the first election in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Neither candidate has openly criticized the police department. Marty Walsh has praised Menino on security issues.

“I want (voters) to realize what Tom Menino’s done the last 20 years that Marty Walsh can continue that,” Walsh said to The Republican (Springfield, Mass.) “I want people to know when I become mayor of Boston they should have that same sense of security that I’m going to be watching out for the city and making sure it’s the best city in the world.”

When asked recently about his plans to implement gun buy-back programs and increase community policing, Connolly addressed broader issues of security.

“I think that we need a holistic plan for a comprehensive safe and healthy Boston initiative,” Connolly said. “And that means as much about law enforcement, as much about gun violence prevention, talking about how we’re going to deal with recovery, how we’re going to deal with mental health, how we’re going to deal with trauma, and making sure that when people need to get help, we can get them that help.”

Will the new Boston mayor significantly reshuffle the police department? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the tributes to Davis keep rolling in.
“We should honor Ed Davis for the exemplary leadership he demonstrated in one of Boston’s darkest moments after the marathon bombings,” former school committee member John Barros said right after Davis’s resignation. “We need to ensure that the next Commissioner has the qualifications and experience to lead the Boston Police Department into its next chapter, with a particular focus on building a department that reflects Boston’s diversity, while increasing community-based policing.”

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