Path Home Shows 2017 Show Archive March 2017 Show 1713 Ed Davis - Modern Policing

Ed Davis - Modern Policing

Law enforcement has changed over the years; police officers are now targets of attack as they work to serve and protect communities.
Ed Davis - Modern Policing

Ed Davis - Modern Policing

For more information visit these links:

Edward Davis LLC

NCPA - Boston Marathon Bombing

Show Details

Show 1713: Ed Davis - Modern Policing
Air Date: March 26, 2017



Rob McClendon: Hello, everyone. Thanks for joining us here on “Horizon.” I’m Rob McClendon. “To serve and protect” is a phrase made famous by the Los Angeles Police Department and adopted in various forms by law enforcement agencies across the U.S. And while the phrase has not changed, how our country’s police serve and protect has. America’s involvement in the war on terror has resulted in a dramatic shift in our nation’s attitudes and concerns about safety. Random mass shootings have become so commonplace they no longer shock us -- and police officers themselves now targets of attack. Yet there are those who still put their life on the line every time they put their uniform on and strap on a weapon. Today, our focus is on how policing is changing, and no one knows that more than our first guest.

[Movie NATS: Those are not our guys. Meanwhile you guys aren’t any closer to identifying the two we’re really looking for. We need to release those pictures].

Rob: Portrayed by John Goodman in the feature film “Patriots Day,” Ed Davis is a former police commissioner who was on the forefront of the emergency response and the subsequent arrests of the terrorists during the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Now Davis is currently the president and CEO of the business strategy and security agency Edward Davis and was the guest speaker at the Larry Adair Lectureship Series at Northeastern State University, which is where our Austin Moore was able to talk to him.

Austin Moore: Mr. Davis, you’ve had a long career in law enforcement. How has terrorism in particular changed law enforcement in the United States?

Edward Davis: Terrorism has changed law enforcement in good ways and in bad ways. Before 9/11, we had a big push in the United States to move towards community policing, which is a form of policing that’s more preventive in nature, doesn’t concentrate solely on law enforcement, but talks about getting out of the police car and talking to people and getting to know them. And then 9/11 hit, and then all of a sudden we were faced with a military challenge. We were faced with a challenge that police would have to be prepared for what amounted to acts of war occurring domestically. And we had to equip the officers with special equipment, trucks and guns and things that they could beat that threat with. But at the same time we asked them to be preventive and open to the community. And it takes a special person to do both of those jobs well. There’s no question, a lot of criminals are gravitating towards the internet to steal money and to enrich themselves. And you know the people left are the ones that aren’t sophisticated enough, the bank robbers and the people doing armed robberies and things. It’s much easier and quite frankly a lot less dangerous to steal money through fraud on the internet and other methods. So we have to become better equipped to deal with those complex issues of crime online, but also be aware that there is still a threat day-to-day in the street, and the old-fashioned, you know, drug dealers and armed robberies are still there. So the job has gotten much more complex with the advent of technology. The other side of it, of course, is that we can do more outreach to people. And by crowdsourcing and asking people for help over the internet, that made all the difference in the investigations of the marathon. And it plays out every day in cities across the country.

Austin: Give us that example of the Boston marathon, and just how did that ability help you?

Davis: Well, in the marathon, we made a decision after collaboration with our federal partners to go to the internet and to ask people for any video or still photos that they took of the marathon. And we expected to get maybe hundreds, maybe a thousand, submissions. In the first 24 hours we got 12,500 submissions. It was so intense that it crashed all of the computers that we had. So we were onto something, this desire of the public to help in a situation like this. This sort of, you know, engaging the community in the pursuit of these bad guys who were actually still planning to kill more people. And if it wasn’t for the help we got from the community, they would have been successful in another attack.

Austin: So as we look to the next 10, 15 years, we have a lot of folks retiring, we’re looking to find people to fill those gaps. Where do you find that skill set in a young student and someone who is interested in law enforcement that can handle the technology but also has that community outreach ability?

Davis: Right. So we need people coming into the business that are flexible enough to do the outreach and the preventive work that we require of the community policing so that people in the community know that the officers work for them and that they can get a service from the officers, not simply the recording of a crime report. The officers can play a vital role in making communities safe and viable places to live and enjoy yourself.

Austin: What do you say to recruit that student, to tell them this is the job to do, this is where you’re going to be rewarded to be in this career?

Davis: Don’t get caught up in one mentality. Don’t think about policing as a military operation. But also don’t think about it as social work. This requires a hybrid, very intelligent people that can do on the one hand the preventive work that needs to be done and identify problems and help people, but on the other hand be ready in a moment’s notice to spring into action when the community calls for it.

Rob McClendon: Well, Boston certainly isn’t alone in knowing the sting of domestic terrorism. It’s now been over 20 years, but Oklahomans still feel the lingering pain of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in downtown Oklahoma City. I had the opportunity to sit down with some friends.

[Nats: But when I woke up].

Rob: Whose lives were forever changed on April 19, 1995, and I believe their story will inspire you. To see them just head over to and look for that story under this week’s value added section. Now, when we return, training day for some future police recruits.