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Boston police commissioner says he is resigning as mayor exits

By Daniel Lovering

BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis, who was thrust into the national spotlight after the Boston Marathon bombings in April, said on Monday he will resign his post but remain in Boston, perhaps to pursue a fellowship at Harvard University.

Davis, 57, said he was stepping down voluntarily after seven years in the position, nearly twice as long as the average urban U.S. police chief, to make way for a new city administration scheduled to take office in 2014.

"When the mayor leaves, you have to reassess," he told reporters at Boston Police headquarters. "I feel very positive about leaving at this time, on my timeline, knowing that I will be leaving the department having done my very best and achieved much success for the BPD."

Davis said he had not yet decided what he would do next, but that he was considering several offers, including a fellowship at Harvard, which would start in January.

"I have always wanted to have a connection with Harvard University, and I'm very proud to say that I've been offered a fellowship at Harvard," he said. "I have not accepted that, this is not a done deal, but I am leaning heavily in that direction."

He said his resignation would take effect in 30 to 60 days, depending on the city's needs. He did not name an interim successor, but said he would work with Mayor Thomas Menino to ensure a smooth transition.

Davis was appointed in 2006 by Menino, the city's longest-serving mayor, who will leave office at the end of the year. In a statement on Monday, Menino said Davis had served the people of Boston "with integrity, a steady hand, and compassion."

Menino said serious and violent crime had decreased substantially under the outgoing police commissioner, whose focus on community policing empowered residents and boosted trust in police.

Voters in Boston will go to polls on Tuesday in a preliminary mayoral election, which will winnow down the current field of 12 contenders to two candidates who will face off in the November general election.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; editing by Andrew Hay)

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