Commissioner Davis’s Vision for the Boston Police: Humility, Gratitude, Vigor

A Message of Gratitude and Shared Goals from Police Commissioner Ed Davis to all members of the Boston Police Department

 May 3, 2012

Good afternoon and welcome. I want to thank you for taking the time from your work and personal lives to come and listen to me talk about some of the extraordinary accomplishments that have taken place over the past 5 years, and where we plan to go over the next year.

I would first like to acknowledge the bureau chiefs. I would like to thank them along with our Deputies and Captains for their leadership, skill and commitment that has helped improve public safety in Boston.

Chief Dan Linskey, Superintendents Bill Evans, Paul Fitzgerald , Ken Fong, Paul Joyce, Bruce Holloway, Frank Mancini, also Ed Callahan from Administration, our legal advisor Amy Ambarik and my Chief of Staff Sharon Hanson.

Thank you all for your hard work and support.

I would also like to take a minute to thank Mayor Menino. We are fortunate to have a committed leader who understands the importance of maintaining public safety and quality of life for our neighborhoods. When other cities in the US were seeing significant reductions in their staff up to 50%, we held ours at 2170.

That has continued to date. So, thank you Mayor Menino for your daily support of the men and women of this department.
The past few years have seen a reduction of available money and greater accountability for each one of us. Throughout this difficult time you persevered and continued to achieve excellent results, that clearly demonstrates to me that our Department’s greatest resource is each one of you:

Whether you are someone who is:
• keeping the public safe and preventing chaos in the streets by managing a major power outage in the city
• coming under fire during a Code 99, barricaded suspect, while trying to protect a victim in Brighton
• solving the brutal murder of a Northeastern student by refusing to give up
• off-duty, and stepping up to assist citizens or respond to dangerous situations Or, someone like..
• Detective Joshua Cummings whose appearance to testify in a homicide case one week after sustaining serious injuries was remarkable. I admire his dedication. Judge Quinlan who was presiding over the case wrote a letter praising his resolve.
• Civilian CSO Annie Wilcox in District 3 helping the community and building their trust in this Department. For example, year after year, she and her colleagues organized a Senior Harbor Cruise which provides a tremendous experience on the water for 300 seniors from Mattapan.
• Community Service Liaisons Tram Tran, Lieu Nguyen and Catia Pina from District 11 working daily with the Vietnamese and Cape Verdean youth and elderly.
• The personnel who work the public service counter at headquarters. You are the face of the department as you interact with thousands of people each year. I have personally seen your professionalism when you assist members of the public looking for reports, licenses, or just general information.
• Douglas Toledo from building maintenance who takes great pride in his work and in providing a better environment for everyone who works at the Hancock Street facility.
• Our dispatchers and calltakers in the Operations Division who do a great job supporting the officers on the street and managing calls and incidents in a professional manner.

It is impossible to name everyone and equally impossible to place a value on your level of commitment, talent and desire to be the best. It is necessary, however, to say thank you and to let each one of you know that every employee’s contribution matters; what you do on a daily basis is important to the mission of the Boston Police Department and critical to accomplishing our goals.
The great Vince Lombardi wisely said “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” This effort is exactly why the Boston Police Department team works.

I wanted to bring you all together to highlight our important accomplishments, talk about our goals for this year and how all of us are part of achieving those goals.
We have much to be proud of:
From 2006 to 2011 Part 1 crime in the city of Boston decreased by 25%
All of the hard work by BRIC analysts, employees in the Districts and Specialized Units has shown that we are targeting the right people – namely the small number of individuals who are committing the majority of crimes.
The efforts of our Safe Street Teams have also shown good results. A study done by Dr. Anthony Braga shows that in areas with SSTs compared against other similar areas without teams, robberies are down 19% , aggravated assaults are down 15% and total violent crimes are down 17%, without moving the crime to another location.

You set the National Standard for Excellence in our handling of Occupy Boston, de-escalating tension yet maintaining firm control of the situation. When a group of protestors attempted to bring building materials into the camp you stopped it and maintained calm that evening. Immediately afterwards, investigative resources were used to identify the individuals responsible and hold them accountable in court.

After Occupy Boston was closed down, I received phone calls from all over the Country and some International inquiries on how we accomplished what we did.
I would like to commend all involved, especially the officers and analysts in the BRIC including the Real Time Crime Center staff who provided critical intelligence for deployment and development of our operations plan.

Superintendent Bill Evans and his team deserve thanks for their efforts with the preparation that went into that final day and the great work that was done all along to create relationships with those that were occupying, resulting in a peaceful outcome.

When the Bruins won the Stanley Cup last year after a 39 year drought, your thoughtful and strategic planning, extensive experience in crowd control, and methodical execution resulted in a wonderful celebration for fans in the city that evening. What a stark contrast to what has happened in other cities in similar situations.

Our Forensics scientists and technicians are processing more evidence than ever before. They are working closely with investigators in the homicide unit, the BRIC, specialized units and district detectives to help solve cases. They do remarkable and difficult scientific analysis, no matter the case or circumstance.

In Ballistics, we are the only Department in the country that is using Bulletrax which is a 3D bullet imaging technology. It is cutting edge and has resulted in 25 Ballistic matches since 2009 which we would never have made using the 2D system. Bullettrax is run by our Management Analysts, Steven Faulkner and Edward Carrio who do a great job.

Our Cold Case Squad, commanded by Sgt. Det. Billy Doogan, along with scientists from the Crime Lab solved 11 cases since 2008. One of the cases was the homicide of Katherine Robinson which occurred in 1971 and was solved using DNA. Finally, some answers for her family.

I could go on and on with the list of great things that you are making happen and it would never be exhaustive enough.

With all of that said I want to touch upon some issues that I feel strongly about and will continue to push for a better resolution:

The first is the Quinn Bill. The result is not acceptable. I personally believe that it should be fully funded and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reneged on a promise they previously made to you. Mayor Menino supports the purpose of the Bill and continues to pay the City’s share. We appreciate the financial impact you are feeling as a result of the State’s decision and we are frustrated by it. I am hopeful that through productive contract negotiations a fair result will be reached in short term to alleviate this financial hardship.

The second is Jurisdiction in the Seaport – I have been working to establish our clear line of authority in the Seaport neighborhood for all police responses. It is clear that legislative change is necessary to fix this long existing problem. I am actively seeking a solution for you, for the residents, and for the business owners in the Seaport. I recently forwarded a new proposal to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Massachusetts State Police, and have asked Senator Jack Hart to assist me in moving forward to a resolution. I am hopeful that we will be successful in getting a legislative amendment passed in short term that fully protects the Boston Police officers who serve the Seaport neighborhood, and will provide the Seaport residents with the same Boston Police services as all other residents of the City of Boston.

I would like to turn now to a discussion of where we are going in the upcoming year.

We have made great progress in crime reduction over the last 5 years. With that I firmly believe that as individuals and as a department we are capable of doing more. That’s why I have set an aggressive goal of a 10% reduction in overall crime for this year.
How will we get there? By doing what we do best:
• by continuing to make critical deployment decisions, based on real time intelligence and quality data from the BRIC.
• identifying the shooters and the most violent gangs for enforcement and intervention.
• providing the necessary resources.
• enhancing relations and partnerships with the community
• improving our internal and External Communication
• providing a variety of training opportunities for employees of this Department

We are implementing a new Ceasefire 2012 strategy that does not look back to the 1990s but instead moves decidedly forward. The new Ceasefire includes coordinated meetings led by the four Superintendents of BIS, BFS, BRIC and Professional Development, focusing on the individuals driving the violence and retaliation and holding them all accountable.

The Gang Unit and Drug Control Units continue to focus efforts on the most violent offenders and gangs, sharing information and working closely with Investigative Services.
We are also using a more consistent approach to the way homicide and non fatal shooting investigations are handled based on international and national best practices.

You will soon begin to see a commitment of additional resources to the homicide and crime scene response units including a dedicated crime analyst, 8 new homicide detectives, greater training opportunities and administrative assistance to speed up the receipt of phone records and other investigative needs.

We are also looking to make information more easily available to officers on the street. By the middle of 2013 a new CAD system will be up and running. This will increase access to information whether you’re in the district station or in your department vehicle. Specifically, this new technology will provide modern systems in each department vehicle to allow officers to pull up crucial information on suspects, license photos, mapping and will provide better call management when responding to calls.

We are continuing our ongoing commitment to community policing. Last year we successfully completed 160,000 walking and bicycle beats. The positive feedback from the community and the results were significant and encouraging, demonstrating that COPS MATTER. This year I want us to reach 200,000… It is ambitious but I know that you are up to the challenge. I want to see everyone out of cars and walking for some portion of their shift. It has already made a difference in how the community sees us and how safe they feel in their neighborhoods.

To further that effort the Bureau of Investigative Services has also taken great strides in community engagement. Through their new outreach program, detectives are working with local businesses and residents to develop positive relationships outside of their investigative duties. This means Detectives are getting out and walking the beat. They’re visiting and talking to community members, attending community meetings and educating the public on safety tips and the importance of community input to solving crimes.

In addition, we have had several new classes come out of the Boston Police Academy in the last 5 years. The last 2 classes, however, have taken a new approach to community policing.

These recruits have visited various neighborhoods within the City of Boston to meet and interact with the community, business owners, community activists, religious leaders, students, teachers and street workers. While learning about community concerns they are forging relationships that will pay great dividends in their policing careers.

You will also begin to see a revitalized Neighborhood Crime Watch. As Mayor Menino announced earlier this year in his State of the City address, we will enhance our Neighborhood Crime Watch initiative by adding 100 new groups to the program.

Working under the direction of Deputy Nora Baston, the Neighborhood Crime Watch Unit will work closely with our Community Service Officers to create a comprehensive plan to expand our efforts through communication, education and outreach. This is another way to have the community be part of our solution.

I firmly believe that a successful crime reduction strategy has to include effective communication with the community. We continually seek innovative ways and new technologies that allow us direct communication with the community and also provide information.

We are lucky to have one of the most advanced and award winning social media strategies of any law enforcement agency in the country. This media strategy is about you. The Office of Media Relations is telling people about YOUR good work through BPD news, Facebook and now Twitter.

To further enhance our external communication, the department is launching a new social media program titled: Tweet from the Beat. It is a way to combine the BPD’s community policing philosophy with the department’s advances in social media. The program consists of participating Command Staff utilizing the existing Boston Police twitter account to communicate with community members via ‘tweets’ during the course of assigned walking beats throughout identified communities.

I cannot stress enough the importance of completely involving the community in the solution. I sincerely believe that if you work hard for the citizens of Boston, they will be there to support you. I’ve seen it: look at how we are as fans: whether it’s Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins or Patriots – we are tough critics but fiercely loyal. I have seen that loyalty expressed for our department time and time again and it will help us in our crime reduction efforts.

I continue to look for training opportunities through the tremendous work of our Academy Staff and outside Executive Leadership development courses through Harvard Kennedy School, Lead Boston, PERF’s Senior Management Institute for Police, and Target.

The City also provides training for department managers. Thirty-three BPD employees have completed or are currently enrolled in this program. The BPD recently launched the Public Safety Leadership and Management Certificate Program in partnership with Suffolk University. There are 32 BPD employees who are taking graduate level classes focusing on finance, human resources and strategic decision making.

These courses are some of the many ways that we are committed to helping you achieve personal growth and enrichment through education and career development. I strongly encourage you to participate as opportunities become available.
In addition, we are focused on your well-being. Dr. Kevin Gilmartin provided 6 sessions to hundreds of employees on Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement. This was well received and we hope to offer this session again.

I also encourage members of the Department to take advantage of the Peer Support and Family Assistance Units as they are an important resource to assist employees.
Finally, what I hoped to convey to you today is my absolute pride in the history and the accomplishments of this great Department and all of you. You are the Department. The reputation of the BPD will be your professional legacy. Let’s protect it.

I realize that I have asked much of you over the last 5 years and you have delivered every day. Today as I stand here I am asking for more. We need to continue to hold ourselves to the highest possible standards. We are Boston after-all, and that means we set the gold standard for integrity and excellence in all we do.

I am proud to be your Commissioner and I am very proud of you.

 


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About stephenomeara

My name is Jim Jordan. I have had the privilege of working with the Boston Police Department and hundreds more departments over my nearly 30-year career in police administration and city government. I am now teaching and consulting independently at www.sergeantsleadership.org. I have learned the best of what I know from the thousands of smart, dedicated and ethical police personnel and scholars who have guided me along the way. My address is named for the great Reform commissioner of the Boston Police at the turn of the 20th century. Commissioner O'Meara died just a short while before the Strike in 1919. He was replaced by a vicious puppet (of Gov. Coolidge) named Edwin U. Curtis. Had O'Meara lived events may have turned out quite differently.
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