Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis decried Massachusetts’ reliance on civil service exams for police hiring and aggressively defended his record on diversity yesterday, trying to defuse an issue that took center stage in the Boston mayor's race this week, the Boston Globe reports. Davis pointed to the diversity of his handpicked command staff and the $2 million he set aside to administer a revised civil service test as evidence of his commitment to a racially diverse police force.
The original test, which relies strictly on multiple-choice answers and does not take into account leadership skills, has long been criticized for hampering efforts to diversify police ranks. The police department and Davis, who has been at its helm since 2006, came under fire from the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers this week, with the group pledging to campaign against mayoral candidates who would retain Davis as commissioner. In the wake of the Marathon bombings, when Davis emerged as a national figure, at least six of the 12 candidates have pledged to keep Davis on if elected to lead the city. The minority officer group outlined a list of grievances, including a recent round of promotions that initially included no minority officers, and the fact that there are currently no minority officers serving as district captains.