The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

The CopDoc Podcast Ep 015 - Ed Davis, former Commissioner, Boston Police Department

April 05, 2021 Ed Davis Season 1 Episode 15
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep 015 - Ed Davis, former Commissioner, Boston Police Department
Show Notes Transcript

We interviewed Ed Davis, retired Commissioner of the Boston Police, former Chief fo the Lowell, Massachusetts Police and CEO of Ed Davis Company.  

We talked about his long career with the Lowell Police, rising to the Chief of Police.  he was appointed Commissioner as one of only two outsiders to command the Boston Police Department. 

We talked about the Capitol attack and the Boston Marathon Bombing.  We discussed the importance of clinical help for police who are exposed to tragic events in their work. 

[00:00:02.675] - Intro

Welcome to The CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas, the cop dog shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing, communities, academia and other government agencies. And now please join Dr. Steve Morreale and industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on The CopDoc Podcast.


[00:00:41.165] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, everybody, this is Steve Morreale from Boston, and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast, and today I have the pleasure to talk with Ed Davis, the former commissioner of the Boston Police Department, a friend going back to his LOEL day.


[00:00:52.605] - Ed Davis

So good morning. Morning, Steve.


[00:00:54.905] - Steve Morreale

It's great to see you too, Tell us about yourself and how your path to policing happened. Sure.


[00:01:00.725] - Ed Davis

Well, I was brought up in a police family. My dad was a police officer, played a significant role in my decision to go into policing. When I was a kid in school, I was clear in my own mind that I didn't want to work in an office, that I was very much interested in being outside. And and I saw the role of policing as a way to serve the community. I know it sounds kind of corny, but I really felt that way.


[00:01:22.565] - Ed Davis

You can help people and have a secure job and make a good life for themselves. So that's that's basically what brought me into police. Join the force in 1978. And I was thrust into a very difficult policing environment in Lowell, Massachusetts, where I like to say the Golden Globes is the city sport and the guys that were practicing in the gyms all day like to practice on us in the evening. It was an interesting, dynamic place to work.


[00:01:48.755] - Steve Morreale

And so you spent a lot of time in Lowell.


[00:01:51.575] - Steve Morreale

That's where we got to meet. And you rose through the ranks, talk about the work that you did and and your trajectory through the police department.


[00:01:59.735] - Ed Davis

Sure. Well, I started out in a patrol position. I really enjoyed that. I only did it for three years, but it was some of the most exciting and rewarding time of my career. I think that the guys that responded to the scene really have to think on your feet. I have a lot of respect for them. I wanted to detectives. I did some sexual assault cases when I first met the detectives. But very quickly I saw that the challenge of narcotics and organized crime, frankly, in the city that I was in, organized crime, had begun to influence political operations in the city.


[00:02:29.165] - Ed Davis

It was gambling and prostitution were flourishing. And underneath that was this rising tide of narcotics. So I talked to the chief at the time, Jack Sheehan, into establishing in that quarter an organized crime group. And I took that over quickly, partnered with the DEA, and they were our best partners in dealing with the with the drug problem. And on the organized crime front, we teamed with the FBI and it had a dramatic impact. We import in our own little city.


[00:02:57.335] - Ed Davis

We were chasing Whitey Bulger and the offshoots of his organization up there in Lowell.


[00:03:02.075] - Steve Morreale

For the audience that may be listening literally all over the world. Not that it's a big audience, Ed, but it's growing.


[00:03:07.955] - Steve Morreale

You know, talk, talk, talk about Lowell and where it is situated in Boston. It's on the Merrimack River. But describe it from your point of view and what kind of a city it is.


[00:03:16.535] - Ed Davis

Sure. Well, Lowell was one of the first planned industrial cities in the nation. It was founded in the mid 80s and early to mid. Eighteen hundreds carved out of Chelmsford and Billerica.  and Tewsksbury. And it's right on the banks of the Merrimack, where the river drops 40 feet at a juncture here. And because of that, the mill owners were able to water power to drive the volumes in the mills from girls and immigrants came from all over the world to staff these positions here.


[00:03:44.225] - Ed Davis

And so Lowell has always been kind of a scrappy little town. It was the fourth largest city, still is the fourth largest city in Massachusetts. It's located ten miles south of the New Hampshire border. But it's right at the intersection of Route 495 and ninety three. A lot of traffic from interstate locations, city of about one hundred thousand people. And the economic picture here, it's risen and fallen dramatically, but the influence of immigrants has been incredible.


[00:04:09.155] - Ed Davis

Irish immigrants early on, Greek immigrants, and then finally in the last few years, a significant influx of Latino and Caribbean immigrants, as well as as well as the biggest minority in the city, which is Cambodian. So it's an interesting city to police.


[00:04:26.165] - Steve Morreale

So you continued up the ladder. You do. I think you quickly recognized that task forces were the way to accomplish some of the missions. And I know you've had a number of them have been involved in FBI, are a few of them. And you continued up the ladder, became a captain, and then later became the chief in Lowell. And how long did you do that?


[00:04:44.505] - Steve Morreale

I was chief for thirteen years is a long time. Did you see some growth during that period of time? What are the things that you were working on as you became the chief? Because I'd like to think that one of the reasons I asked you on is because you're an innovative leader, you're not afraid to challenge the status quo and you do make changes. And what are some of the changes that you're proud of that took place in Lowell.


[00:05:02.525] - Ed Davis

Well 1993 was really a watershed year for me. I had gone to a training called the Police Executive Research Forum sponsored by the Police Integrity. Yes, me. Yes. And it was there that I learned about the concepts of community policing and how important it is for the police not to be an occupying force, but to be a part of the community and to focus on prevention. And I know that stuff sounds like rhetoric, but the truth of the matter is, up to that point, I was a very reactive police officer thinking that we could just arrest our way out of any problem that we found.


[00:05:38.285] - Ed Davis

And tragically, our strategy was to bring force to bear on anything that got in our way, right? Back then, it was the only thing that we knew. But all of a sudden, I got to realize that most of the people in the neighborhoods where we were having trouble were good people. And we're looking for some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New England were right here in Mobile. And we we were like an invading army up until 1993.


[00:06:00.905] - Ed Davis

So after I learned the concepts of community policing, I really don't go into that with both feet. And very quickly, we got recognized for what we were doing. Attorney General Janet Reno visited the city twice, actually, when she was an attorney general because she was so impressed on the incredible change in the police department. We were recognized as a pretty difficult department. We had all sorts of lawsuits and civil rights problems. And I was asked to step in and stop that, fix it, bringing the community in the door.


[00:06:27.935] - Ed Davis

So I opened up the door and put a lot of systems in place to be accountability. And that really made all the difference. I'm very proud of the work I did.


[00:06:35.255] - Steve Morreale

So you continued, obviously, I suppose I don't mean to humble you, but you made a name for yourself because you're willing to take on, again, the status quo and make some changes that were effective and efficient. How did you bring people along and how did that happen? So how do you how do you say this is the way we did it? This is where we're going to do it without the kicking and screaming that might go along with it?


[00:06:55.535] - Ed Davis

Well, it was important to educate myself, but you were there back in those days, you know, in the late 90s, late 80s, early 90s. Yes. Prior to this, I devoured all of the management books about change management, TQM, The Five Pillars of Change was a book written by a military colonel who turned around a dysfunctional era. When there was a lot of material to look at and I looked at it is winning the hearts and minds of the officers who were on the street.


[00:07:22.835] - Ed Davis

I mean, we really needed to educate them in the same way that I was educated. In ninety three, I tried to bring that education into the police department. I brought in different types of speakers. I established a really solid training component. And I teamed up with people like George Keller. And even, you know, I think back to your days in the community policing and what we did, we did a lot of training that introduced line-level police officers.


[00:07:46.655] - Ed Davis

We'd never heard of these people whose impression of the job was like Dragnet. What are the facts here? We arrest that. We don't arrest and we walk away. And all of a sudden I had very experienced officers. One guy that was a colleague of my dad, my dad had passed away at that time. But my conversation with Peter Gekas was one of my kids probably said, man, this really works and said we've been arresting people from the same families now for two generations.


[00:08:10.505] - Ed Davis

And he said, this is the first time I've been able to prevent crime from happening and help some of these people. It's really incredible. So that was when that was the conversation I had early on in the process where I thought we were onto something.


[00:08:20.765] - Steve Morreale

Isn't that a story? And it had to be redeeming for you to say that we're getting somewhere. And I love really what you're saying and how honest you are about the way it was and the way it could be. And unfortunately, it seems to have devolved over the years because all of that hard work that you and I have done, it's troubling to see what's going on in our world. And yet I want to say, as we started the conversation just before we went to record, I had said I had been on Hilton Head and I ran into the Boston police Gaelic C olumn, the pipes and drums.


[00:08:49.835] - Steve Morreale

And we haven't even talked about you rising to to Boston. But before we do, you know, you've been around that your whole life. The pride that comes with watching a group of people like that representing the police department, but bringing music, whether it's New York or Chicago, it's it's Ireland or it's Scotland. What's your take about watching and listening to the pipes and drums that are from a police agency?


[00:09:13.445] - Ed Davis

Well, it's it's really rewarding to hear that music and marching with information with that group. It's some of the proudest times in my life was representing the Boston Police Department at various events, funerals and terribly tragic situations. But to hear that music really brought back the whole Irish heritage of my my grandmother was a first generation immigrant. She was the first child of her family born here. And we have strong links back to the Irish that we all shared. So it was really important.


[00:09:44.675] - Ed Davis

I remember thinking and mentioning several times in speeches that my grandmother would be incredibly proud to know that I had an opportunity. I had a job where I had my own dealer call. That would probably be drugs in the country, that it has very important people, very important to our heritage and to honoring not only police, but we had been we've been doing special training with the SEAL teams just prior to them losing that Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan. And we were actually with them in that helicopter went down.


[00:10:13.745] - Ed Davis

They got word. We mourned with them that night. And then our Daily Caller was invited down to Virginia Beach when the bodies were brought back. So some really, really moving tribute. So we've been attached to that.


[00:10:25.985] - Ed Davis

We leapfrogged into your time in Boston, but talk about that. How was it that you went from Lowell and as an outsider became the commissioner of the Boston police?


[00:10:34.835] - Ed Davis

It was a unique situation. It's only happened twice in my life. I actually I think is. The police department where they hired from outside the Boston police, so it was really an outside shot when I applied. And the funny thing was I applied in 2004 and I didn't get the job. Cathy O'Toole was was selected, but I did have an opportunity to meet with the mayor and go through the extensive process with the community. It was very helpful for me in 2006 when Cathy had accepted the job in Ireland and moved on.


[00:11:03.635] - Ed Davis

I was approached by the city and I told them I was not going to apply again, but they knew who I was. And if they wanted to make me an offer, I'd be happy to consider it. And that's essentially what happened. The mayor chose David's D'Alesandro, who was the former president of Gamecock Insurance, to conduct the search. He interviewed four or five of us. And after a long process, I was offered the position. I was thrilled to be able to take the lessons I have learned in law.


[00:11:27.895] - Ed Davis

And one of the key drivers was the fact that we had reduced crime between three and five percent every year for the 13 years of the 12, 13 years that I was there. We did have one spike halfway through, but those strategies of that and community policing really were what brought me to the attention of the people that hired me.


[00:11:46.105] - Steve Morreale

Back in Lowell. And as you walked into Boston, it seemed to me, were you part of the process of creating the substation in Lowell?


[00:11:53.385] - Ed Davis

Yes, that was one of our main strategies. You know, the concepts of community policing. Go back to Robert Peel. And what he said was the police, the community policing, the police, the community. And so we really thought that it would be helpful to put substations into the most challenging neighborhoods in the city. We started out with Centrebet, which was well known focus on several of our major drug investigation. These were international investigations, Dominican and  Colombian traffickers were set up pretty solidly in that neighborhood and we had made hundreds of arrests there.


[00:12:29.185] - Ed Davis

The only thing that work, though, was putting police officers in uniform and having them patrol on foot up and down the main street when the drug dealers realized that it was going to be a constant police presence if they couldn't get their job done. So they went to different places and that strategy worked. So we we multiplied it across the city. And all of a sudden, community groups are clamoring for their own neighborhood police.


[00:12:50.125] - Steve Morreale

Again, now you're walking into Boston. Boston already has districts. But as you were sitting down in a brand new place in a city that we all know and love, because it is our it is our capital and it's where we all go for culture. And what did you do what did you begin to do to continue that process of community policing? Community-mindedess?


[00:13:09.355] - Ed Davis

Yeah,  Boston was a was a very different place on their journey of community policing. They had had neighborhood policing in place. They had people like Bill Bratton and Paul Evans, who I really enjoyed working with and admired as leaders. They fashions much passion. A number of my strategies after those two guys, Paul was very helpful in getting the job. I don't think I ever got the job if Evans encouraged me to do so. So what I was able to do is check the landscape there.


[00:13:37.135] - Ed Davis

And there's a rich history of the Boston Police Department going back to the Graci and the corruption cases in the 60s and 70s. What Kevin White did when he was in as mayor and we were Boston had progressed, too. But there was some holes that needed to be filled. And as much as neighborhood policing was very well accepted in the police departments, there wasn't a lot of foot patrol had been put in place involving a bicycle unit, for instance, that I thought could be amended.


[00:14:02.965] - Ed Davis

And we started to do meetings with the community, our routine basis. But one of the big holes was they had not implemented community. I mean, they had not implemented cops that Bratton came up with that after he left Boston. And when I went in, there was no cops that process. So very quickly, I put that in place. But it wasn't the New York model. It was a different kind of a model that we came up with.


[00:14:22.855] - Ed Davis

So we were looking at crime as the bottom line of the strategies of measuring our strategy. So is the crime rate going down? That's that was the the the bottom line in our business. But we also wanted to make the problem solving around strategies collaborative. So we didn't demand that people do more stop and frisk or the police officers make more arrests. We were actually hoping that the arrest rates would go down. And one of our biggest accomplishments was that they did for the seven years that I was there, the arrest rate fell every year.


[00:14:55.645] - Ed Davis

The crime rate fell at the same time. So there are strategies you can put in place that that recognize that there's a way to stop crime without being oppressive.


[00:15:05.125] - Steve Morreale

So, Ed as I'm hearing you, I know that now you have done and you're engaged in your own company, the Ed Davis company, and it's in so many different things. And one of the things that you do is you write op-ed and I think I read them. Funny, when it's an op ED, it's an opinion piece, but an op-ed.


[00:15:22.195] - Steve Morreale

And so what are the things that you're writing about and what's the feedback you get from these these opining pieces?


[00:15:28.465] - Ed Davis

Well, it's been very positive. I've been thrilled with the response that I've got from people, especially I do I do op ed for The Globe and I've been published in other newspapers and as one. Happening right now in the Boston Business Journal, which is really a publication that I read a lot now because of where I where I am situated, but the linked in articles are you get the most immediate feedback. And that's that's a lot of fun. And I've been very happy with the response.


[00:15:54.685] - Ed Davis

I've waded into some some difficult things, talk about talked about terrorism. I've talked about police brutality and the union's responsibility in that difficult area. I've talked about covid and what we've learned in our health care division over the last year as we've done testing vaccinations and working with companies to navigate this very dangerous space. So, you know, we're a crisis company. We're a security consulting company, but we deal with crises and everything from the last election code with all of the other things that I've mentioned here.


[00:16:24.805] - Ed Davis

We've been involved in. I was one of the monitors in Ferguson for a couple of years just after that incident. I was in Chicago for three years before that, dealing with the high homicide rate there, both Justice Department assignments, as well as the NYPD case in the housing authority there that resulted in major changes to the training of the NYPD. So there's a lot that I've seen and sometimes I feel compelled to talk about it.


[00:16:50.515] - Steve Morreale

But let's talk about a couple of high pressure, high visibility situations. And one of them was January 6th.


[00:16:56.875] - Steve Morreale

And having been a retired police officer, sitting down, having your attention drawn to the TV, but thinking when you saw what was going on at the Capitol?


[00:17:05.185] - Ed Davis

I had been out in the car and I came back in the House and I frequently turn on CNN to see what's happening, CNN or FOX, just to understand what's happening in the world. I happened to hit CNN and I saw what was occurring and I was dumbstruck by it. My, literally my mouth was agape.


[00:17:22.495] - Ed Davis

Are you and I have both worked in that building very familiar with the location of dinners in the area. I've been in the subways traveling back and forth between the office buildings. I testified there it was an assault on our democracy and I was just flabbergasted that it could occur. I wanted to jump on a plane and go down there and help those cops that were getting the crap beat out of them, quite frankly.


[00:17:43.165] - Steve Morreale

So we're starting to hear that some of the players were either military, former military, current police or other police. Again, another tarnish to the badge that you and I have worn. How do we approach this? How do you deal with this in an agency? How do you indicate to people, look, you have an obligation to uphold the law and not to resist? And that what we swear, I swear to uphold the Constitution is Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States.


[00:18:11.095] - Steve Morreale

And yet  some and I understand we're talking about some have been involved. What would you suggest that police chiefs now do to ensure that they are laying down the law about what is acceptable and not?


[00:18:23.125] - Ed Davis

Well, I think that this is a fairly simple process. It's hard to swallow. It's hard to perform. But it's it's quite simple. If someone went down there to exercise their First Amendment rights and did so even loudly and vehemently, that's not a crime. But a police officer or a member of the military understands the perimeter. They understand that breaching a perimeter is a crime. And if they step foot inside that perimeter that had been breached or did anything else more trouble troubling, they should be immediately terminated, that they no longer have the right to to be a police officer because the community can't trust them.


[00:18:58.975] - Ed Davis

And they violated that oath that they took. You know, a lot of times police forget about that oath after years go by. They don't think about the words in that oath. But I thought about them many times what I was doing my duty. So police chiefs have to follow through. They have to do an investigation, determine whether or not a crime was committed and if it was committed, remove the people from service and if appropriate, prosecute.


[00:19:20.485] - Ed Davis

They get no special break. They get no there's no time for touchy feely stuff on this stuff. It's it's quite there's a bright red line here and they cross that bright red line. They should not have the honor of being a police officer or a member of the military in this country, this institution.


[00:19:34.285] - Steve Morreale

And they're starting to talk about that. Just the last couple of days, the U.S. attorney was taught that. So let's talk about cybersecurity and cyber crime and all of the things that are happening and how police are being drawn into this and how important it has become as a tool.


[00:19:47.695] - Steve Morreale

You know, how to protect ourselves, but how to use the cyber world as evidence, as you experience with the Boston Marathon bombing. But how important is that now and how ready are police, local police to deal with the cyber threat?


[00:20:03.535] - Ed Davis

Well, they're not ready. The resources are painfully lacking. We do a fair amount of cyber work. I'm on the advisory committee of a company called Cyber Warriors. In addition to that, I have a former admiral, Mike Brown, on my staff. Mike set up the DHS Cyber Command. When you step down from the military and spent six years at one of the top cyber companies in the United States running their international operations, Mike is now our chief adviser on cyber. So when we have a company that's been attacked or is under is under threat, we get them connected with the best and the most appropriate response team or a prevention team.


[00:20:39.575] - Ed Davis

We'd much rather prevent one of these things and then respond to it after it happened, but, you know, cyber is so pervasive across our country right now from endpoint security on the on the devices we carry right up through the the computers that are in our offices and are under constant barrage. One of my clients where my first cyber client was an internationally known media company, and I went in to their facility and found out they were repelling thousands of attacks a day from nation states, from all over the world.


[00:21:08.825] - Ed Davis

They were literally being attacked thousands of times a day. Thankfully, they had a very solid software, but they had been breached by the Chinese. And and so they were continually fighting this fight. And it's difficult because CEOs are listening to their CEOs about what they spend, what they're not even certain, what the spending should be on cyber security. So we try to help people in that in that regard.


[00:21:34.085] - Steve Morreale

Let's talk about your experience, probably one of the worst days of your life, the Boston Marathon and the importance of taking command, of working together with other agencies and of immediately looking to collect evidence. What's your recollection of of how that played out that day? And again, this was a worldwide event, as you well know, because everybody watches the marathon. So I bring you back to that day. I'm sure you've been brought back a number of times.


[00:22:01.565] - Ed Davis

But how important is,  again look at that cyber right, the video, the importance of video and the importance of tracking with telephones and all of those kinds of things. And your department, along with others, DHS and the FBI and others, stepped up.


[00:22:14.795] - Steve Morreale

What was going on in terms of you walking in, listening and asking what was being done and then directing what was being was to be?


[00:22:23.405] - Ed Davis

Yeah, this is a this is a very complex issue. I can easily spend a couple of hours on a high note. I'll boil it down to give you the top lessons that I learned. One was that when you get to the scene and you realize that there's been a loss of life and I stepped out of the vehicle and I found shrapnel underneath my feet, I was literally walking on it at the corner of Ringworld and Boylston Street.


[00:22:44.645] - Ed Davis

You realize you're under attack and you don't know what's coming next. And you walk across Boylston Street and look down. And there's a body of an eight year old boy, Martin Richard, and a 23 year old graduate student, Lindsey Liu, from China. They were both dead. And so you realize that this is an international event and it's there's enormous urgency to try to fix that, to make them get these guys, first of all, make sure they don't do this again.


[00:23:09.575] - Ed Davis

And so, as you mentioned, one of the first things we did was start to download video from the crime scene. And ultimately, three days later, that video made all the difference in the world to us. So we were able to run these guys down and either capture or kill them in two hours. And it was it was an intense emotional experience for everybody. But after I went back and met with the victims, all the amputees spent time in emergency rooms, took Ritchie.


[00:23:36.755] - Ed Davis

Along with me was Richie, lost his leg in a in a motorcycle accident as a police officer. He was my driver at the time. Richie and I visited all of these amputees to try to help them with what they were facing. It was extremely rewarding. But I learned I really learned a few lessons. One was that you can't develop a relationship during a crisis if you are in a position of leadership, no matter where it is or what you're doing, even as a family member.


[00:24:00.905] - Ed Davis

And you look at the world of things that could possibly happen to you. The list of people that you need to fix, what that problem is, is vitally important and you should know them before the crisis starts. So for me, that was the safety of the bureau. What was the cause of all of the agencies? Every every federal agency came to that command post and offered equipment and investigative personnel. But the bureau has unique position as the lead agency, the person that was the colonel or the state police, both of those agencies that SWAT teams waiting.


[00:24:32.015] - Ed Davis

And we activated them immediately. I knew that because we had a plan. So the planning and training process is critically important. So relationships, planning and training, planning and training and tabletop exercises, full scale exercises, actually thinking through what you might do brings you beyond the law enforcement into the medical community. Forty two people left that that that race site, the bomb site with critical injuries. Any one of them could have died and they were all safe.


[00:25:00.365] - Ed Davis

And I would argue with you that because we trained with the emergency rooms, we trained with the doctors, we knew the nurses and the people who were going to be in the tents at the at the rates. People were saved as a result of that. So that's really important. Also changing plans midstream column. And one of my deputy superintendents is now the head of security for the Red Sox who came up to me on Boylston Street just as I got there and said, Commissioner, I think I'm in trouble and it's the right call.


[00:25:23.945] - Ed Davis

He said we had people with amputations who were bleeding and no ambulances to put them in. So I had the patrol wagons to pick them up and drive them to the hospital. And so when you think about that, he was violating our protocols. We have clear protocols of people. Orange expert, we badly need to go, but the doctor is at the emergency rooms, told us that if he hadn't made that decision, people would have died. So innovation is is extremely important.


[00:25:49.235] - Ed Davis

And finally, technology, we use social media very effectively. During the event, it was the first time in an international terrorist event that social media has been utilized like that. We used it to calm people at the beginning. We used it to reunite people with their relatives. And then we used it to develop investigative leads. And we received thousands of images over Twitter and Instagram, all of the different social media platforms that we used in the investigation.


[00:26:15.215] - Ed Davis

And then finally setting up these incredibly intense video processing laboratories of Black Falcon terminal. Very quickly, we started out with one computer on the first day. We had 16 computers at the end of it, working around the clock staff 24/7 until we found these guys and were able to bring them to justice. So those are the lessons of law.


[00:26:36.695] - Steve Morreale

So a couple of things that come to mind. I have to tell you that when you were first talking, I was getting chills and being brought back to that moment. And it reminds me of so many things that I have been involved in. It brought me back to 9/11 when I went to 9/11, responding with some people. And what I saw was horrible. But nonetheless, I want to discuss is how it impacts you, how you know, it impacts officers, the things that see, things that we do, the things that we're called on, and the boxes we tend to put them at, sometimes open at the strangest time, meaning wellness of officers.


[00:27:09.765] - Steve Morreale

Talk about that Ed, I mean, you can't tell me that you did not open I didn't open a little wound when we started to talk because I could see it and I could hear it and I.


[00:27:17.945] - Ed Davis

Yeah, without a doubt. Yeah. These are emotional issues. And yeah, it was something that we were really concerned what we tried to do a lot. We didn't do enough. We found that out very quickly. So briefly, we brought in psychologists, psychiatrists almost immediately. One of my young officers, first name was Lauren. And I'm not giving your last name because I don't want to. I haven't asked you about this, but she was only on for a couple of months when this happened and she was investigating a shoplifting case at the Prudential Center when the bombs went off and she found herself doing CPR on Krystal Campbell, the other victim at the scene.


[00:27:51.365] - Ed Davis

This was even before she made an arrest or had gone to court. So bring the officer used to work in city hall. All of a sudden she was thrust into this incident. It was after talking to her and Tommy Barrett, who would actually put somebody with was one of the victims was on fire. That's why we rushed up and extinguish the fire with his glove. And I realized that we needed to do something. So we called in psychiatrist and Dan Lindsay and I Champion was my number one cheeper department at the time.


[00:28:17.675] - Ed Davis

Danny and I were the first ones to go and get evaluated. We sat down with the psychiatrist. We were we had a chance to vent. We had a chance to talk about our experiences and to listen to their advice on how to deal with it. And we made that available for all the officers. But officers are reluctant to do that. And I don't think that was that was sufficient. Clearly wasn't sufficient, because several weeks later, I picked up the paper and realized that there were a bunch of people that were looking for more assistance.


[00:28:44.435] - Ed Davis

So it was at that time that it was a Sunday morning. I picked up the paper, I read it. I sat back and thought, we've got to do more. So I called Gary Cordner. Gary was the president of Partners Health Care at the time. Gary and I worked together a bunch of different issues in the city. And we are on Sunday morning, I'm begging for help. He was able to open up McLean Hospital to us and tremendous psychiatric hospital, part of the partners health care team.


[00:29:09.785] - Ed Davis

And they started a program of counseling that's still going today. It started right after the bombings and it's still very active and in place right now. And so that's one way we were able to deal with it. But, you know, there is a mentality in the police department that we're tough guys with tough woman. We can handle this stuff. And I understand that bravado is actually makes up the culture of the department. And when you think about the cops deal with homicides every week, you know, I went to four hundred homicides when I was police chief between law and the boss.


[00:29:44.375] - Ed Davis

That takes a piece of you. There's no question about it. But people go into this business with a different mentality and learn as they're as they are experiencing these things day after day after day, year after year, that they have to be tough. They have to work their way through it. At some point in time, though, they also have to reach out and get help. And if they don't know, we've done a lot of work on the suicide issue by police, it is unacceptable.


[00:30:09.215] - Ed Davis

It's one of those little secrets that the newspapers don't even report on it. They give. That's the only thing as a police officer that you get when you kill yourself. And there's something wrong with that. There's just something wrong with that,


[00:30:18.845] - Steve Morreale

You know, that's interesting because if you remember in our older days, it would be reported as an accidental shooting, a cleaning, a gun. I mean, it was it was the cover for or somebody taking their life.


[00:30:30.465] - Steve Morreale

Certainly we're seeing way too many. In fact. I know. And more suicides than there are in line of duty deaths. Right. And that's both in police. Fire, it's in. Public service.


[00:30:39.725] - Steve Morreale

We need to wind down, but I have a couple of other questions. What are your hobbies? What the hell do you do to get the hell away from all of the stuff that you do day in and day out? Do you have a hobby?


[00:30:48.545] - Ed Davis

Yeah, a couple. So I'm a woodworker. I build furniture and I just finished a huge cherry dining room table. It took me a year to make it very proud of that. It sort of keeps my mind off things and get into sharpening a chisel and, you know, peeling off a small piece of wood.


[00:31:03.215] - Ed Davis

And it's very it's very rewarding


[00:31:05.585] - Steve Morreale

Because you can see the end product, which you don't always do in policing.


[00:31:09.285] - Ed Davis

Exactly. Yeah. You've made something. Yeah. Yeah. So I do a bunch of renovations and things like that, so I keep plugging in that stuff all. I also love motorcycles. The truth is that I my son crashed my motorcycle a couple of years ago and I haven't got one since then, but I'm really, really thinking about it right now.





[00:31:25.955] - Steve Morreale

Well, then spring's here. Spring's here. So you're probably thinking I got to do it right.


[00:31:30.335] - Ed Davis

Harley Davidson stock's going to go up a little bit. What's on your bucket list?


[00:31:35.015] - Steve Morreale

Things, the things you want to get done before we leave this world. What are some of the things you'd like to?


[00:31:40.025] - Ed Davis

You know, I got to tell you, I went on the trip last year just before the pandemic hit October 19 to the Amalfi Coast. And I realized there that there's some stuff I've never seen and I've got to do that. So travel is really is really important to me. Back to Sorento and a few other places around the world that I want to see. I've got to get to I I've been to Ireland a number of times, but mostly for work.


[00:32:06.365] - Ed Davis

So I get to travel there and see I am thoroughly enjoying this, this new kind of business. I'm seven years now. I've been doing it, you know, this business where I help companies and individuals with emergencies. We we every week we're working on some other the tragic thing or potentially deadly thing. The David Ortiz case, for instance, is a good example. I can't talk about a lot of the stuff with David's. The attempt to assassinate David Milliken was a case that brought us out of the country and fascinating.


[00:32:39.035] - Ed Davis

So I love doing the work I'm doing. And hopefully we're helping people.


[00:32:42.215] - Steve Morreale

And you keep your finger on, like you say, helping people.


[00:32:44.885] - Steve Morreale

So the last question for you, Ed, is this. Let me digress for a moment. I remember being at Anna Maria, which is your alma mater, and Maria College and running into you. And I had brought some students to you. But I have to tell you the story that I don't think I ever heard. So you walk in see Steve Morreale, give me the big bear hug, and the students are all around me and they shake hands and they think this is the big Ed Davis and that's OK with me.


[00:33:08.765] - Steve Morreale

So we're back in class the next day. And you had called me out from the podium. You got Steve Morreale. Yeah, I've been working with him long, about hour. And so literally the student said to me, you really know him well.


[00:33:20.225] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, I really know him. Do you think I would lie about that? Yes, I really know him.


[00:33:24.395] - Ed Davis

We kicked some doors in together.


[00:33:24.395] - Steve Morreale

Yes,  we did. We did. We did.


[00:33:28.055] - Steve Morreale

But now the last question is this. If you had a chance to talk to somebody that you have not had a chance to talk to, somebody who's infamous, who is dead or alive, who would you want the opportunity to sit down and pick their brain?


[00:33:41.845] - Ed Davis

Well, I mean, the first the first one would be my dad, because he was really practice in community policing one before I agreed to it. And I, I really you know, when I think back to some of the things he was doing, which actually he was criticized for among the police leaders at the time, because he was an arresting people, you know, so I'd love to have a conversation with them about the things that I bought.


[00:34:07.075] - Ed Davis

But if you think about a historic figure, I really would love to sit down with Sir Robert Peel. He has done so much for this business. I had an Army colonel talking about the importance of of going into the community in places like Afghanistan, where they're trying to win the hearts and minds of people. And she was telling me that it was a it was a military thing that the police could learn from. And I had to tell her that it was actually Robert feels that the police started talking about in the 1980s again.


[00:34:48.625] - Ed Davis

And I remember the generals coming into Harvard from the Pentagon wanting to learn about this and ultimately indoctrinating those practices into the military policing operations. So it's a big circle, but it goes back to his to his teachings. And I would love to talk to him, just like I would love to talk to William Shakespeare.


[00:35:12.385] - Steve Morreale

Terrific. Well, thank you. We've been talking to Ed Davis, the former commissioner and now the president, CEO of Ed Davis Companies in Boston. He's talking to us from his home up in the North Shore near Lowell. This is Steve Morreale. And you've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast. Thank you so much for listening. Look forward to hearing from you with any ideas. And stay tuned for more episodes coming up soon.


[00:35:40.185] - Outro

Thanks for listening to The CopDoc Podcast . . . . . .