Boston Police Commissioner to review Blarney Blowout

By Patrick Hoff

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis talks about the past week during an interview at police headquarters onTuesday, April 23, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/MCT)
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis talks about the events of the Boston Marathon bombings during an interview at police headquarters on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald/MCT)

Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis will begin his review of Blarney Blowout and its subsequent handling by the University of Massachusetts and the town of Amherst on Monday.

Davis said that he will be on campus all day Monday to meet with staff and students as well as times throughout the week so that he can get perspectives before the semester ends.

Davis and his team will also be talking to members of the Amherst community, the town manager, town businesses and “everyone who has a say” in town.

Davis’ team will be comprised of Col. Mark Delaney, the former head of the state police; retired Boston Police Chief Daniel Linskey; and Christine Cole, the executive director of the program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management at Harvard University.

Davis said that the review is scheduled to be finished by September but he will move that up as much as he can. He said that it should be a two to three month process.

The aim of the review is to develop strategies to prevent similar situations in the future. It will take into account the preparedness of both the campus and the community before the event, as well as how police officers, University officials and town leaders handled the disturbance, both during and immediately afterward. Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy made the decision to retain Davis’ services after consultation with UMass President Robert Caret and Board of Trustees Chair Henry Thomas.

“Commissioner Davis is an outstanding choice for this assignment,” Subbaswamy said in a press release. “He is regarded as one of the country’s top law enforcement experts and he will draw upon his longtime success in community policing to help us prevent a recurrence of last week’s disturbing events. This initiative has the support of our community partners in Amherst town government, a cooperative approach vital to solving this difficult problem.”

Davis has 36 years of law enforcement experience and served as the Boston Police Commissioner from 2006 until 2013. Last April, he led the Boston Police Department through the marathon bombing investigation and manhunt. Davis’ team that will conduct the review includes four members, among them retired colonel and former head of the Massachusetts State Police Mark Delaney.

Subbaswamy also outlined a number of other initiatives to address unruly student behavior in the release. These include establishing a task force of students, faculty and staff to develop behavior-related policies and change the culture of campus, expanding the UMatter at UMass bystander intervention program, developing better methods of crowd management with the aid of experts in the psychology of crowd behavior and broadening the campus social norms campaign to address student perceptions of troublesome behavior, such as binge drinking.

According to the release, Davis’ report will be presented to Chancellor Subbaswamy, with additional copies being sent to President Caret and Chairman Thomas.

“We will look at everything to recommend best practices that can be adopted to ensure public safety in way that does not result in civil unrest. I am confident that both the town and the university community will benefit from this review,” Davis said in the release.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected] Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected]