Boston’s Police Chief Resigns, Amid Criticism About Diversity

STONEHAM, MA - APRIL 23: Members of many different law enforcement agencies walk in formation into the funeral for the slain Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police officer Sean Collier at St Patrick's Church on April 23, 2013 in Stoneham, Massachusetts. Collier was allegedly shot by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, after their identities were determined and a manhunt was launched.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev was subsequently shot and killed after a car chase and shootout with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was apprehended on a boat parked on a residential property in Watertown, Massachusetts. The bombing, on April 15 at the finish line of the marathon, killed three people and wounded at least 170.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Boston’s Police Chief Resigns, Amid Criticism About Diversity

Boston's police chief resigned amid complaints that he did not focus sufficiently on diversity.

Published September 23, 2013

Boston’s police chief, Edward F. Davis, resigned Monday after seven years in the position in part because of criticism from various mayoral candidates that he did not place a great enough effort into promoting diversity in the city’s law enforcement ranks.

The resignation was hailed by the leaders of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers, a group that has long called for Davis to step down.

“I think it’s time and, frankly, past time for him to step down,” said Larry Ellison, president of the organization, in an interview with The association earlier this year passed a vote of no confidence regarding the police chief and has long called for his resignation.

“There is a culture here in Boston now that has not been reflected in the level of diversity in the police department,” he said. “Boston is now almost 54 percent African-American and Latino and this department doesn’t reflect that.”

The diversity of the police department – and criticism of Davis – has been a factor in the crowded race for mayor in Boston. At the same time, it serves as a sign of how important the issue of police diversity has become in major cities in the United States.

After cities have dealt with racial tensions in citizen dealings with police officers, the issue of law enforcement diversity has gained increased focus.

“I tend to think that cities focus on diversity when there is a controversy,” said Michael Fauntroy, a professor of political science at Howard University, in an interview with

“The research is clear that diversity is important and we know that there are institutions that have come to the conclusion that diversity is good business,” Fauntroy said. “Hopefully, this crowded race for mayor in Boston will cause people to think more seriously about diversity in their police department.”

Although Davis has maintained that his senior leadership team has been highly diverse, leaders of the minority officers’ group contend that there are no district commanders of color and that the overwhelming majority of the department’s officers are white men.

“Hopefully we’ll have a police commissioner coming in who is focused on all members, and not just a few,” Ellison said.

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 (Photo: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Written by Jonathan P. Hicks


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