What Did Ed Davis Teach Us?

The Boston Globe today features a richly deserved tribute to Commissioner Ed Davis, for what old friend Chuck Wexler called, summoning Hemingway’s definition of course, “grace under pressure.”  That is beyond any question.  Any time you need reassurance in the days and times ahead just watch the Commish on what I am sure will be his clips on YouTube.  Ed Davis is a rock star, with rock drawing on its geological and musical meanings.

In my opinion the bigger lesson Ed taught us is about making decisions.  What struck me?

  • Behaving humbly  is not only the right thing to do, it’s the way to do the thing right.  Humility  is the key to enhancing your authority and power to complete what you came to do.  Do so and a million stubborn and opinionated people will get out of your way just for the asking.
  • Never succumb to situational values.  Even in transmitting the news of the moment never lose track of your core values and your larger goal.
  • Put first things first.  Protect the innocent, including the cops, first and always.
  • Be as well-prepared and -equipped as is humanly feasible to do your duty.
  • Make only those promises you can keep.
  • Maintain the moral high ground despite its inherent tactical disadvantages because that is a big part of what you’re protecting.



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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