A former Oakland police officer who later became the East Palo Alto police chief now heads the country’s oldest law enforcement agency after a swearing-in ceremony last week.
Ronald Davis, 58, was sworn in on September 27 by U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland after a March appointment by President Biden and unanimous confirmation from the U.S. Senate. He will be Director of United States Marshals Services, which handles security in federal courts for judges and witnesses, oversees prisoner operations and asset forfeitures, and enforces civil unrest-related court orders. and terrorism.
In a statement, Davis, the former director of the Office of Community-Based Policing (COPS) under the Obama administration, praised the opportunity to take on a greater role in law enforcement: ” It is a great honor for me to lead the dedicated men and women of the US Marshals Service who work tirelessly and selflessly every day to protect the American justice system, our communities, and the American people.
Davis, who received a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and completed an executive program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, joined the Oakland Police Department in 1985 at the age of 21. and has held several positions, including SWAT team leader, zone commander, police academy director and inspector general.
In brief comments Wednesday, former Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan recalled his time as fellow officers before Davis was promoted to captain: “I worked for him for a brief time. in our youth services division, so I was in his chain of command. I thought he was a qualified, very competent leader. He has no problem holding people accountable and making tough decisions. […] He made Oakland PD proud.
In 2005, he was appointed Chief of Police in East Palo Alto, where he instituted monthly “boss conversations” and encouraged officers to educate officers. According to this news agency, the East Palo Alto City Council has encountered a wave of gang-related crimes and Davis’ plans to expand investigative services by adding $ 2.5 million to the department’s budget.
“The community is less likely to work with the police, provide critical information, come forward as witnesses or provide support if there is no relationship,” Davis said in 2007. “The The department has made great strides in becoming part of this community, not an occupation force paid to watch over it.
By the time he left town in 2013 to take on the role of COPS, he had been sworn in to three-fifths of the more than four dozen officers in the department. “Every time I swear in new officers, there is this excitement, this energy,” he said at the time. “They give us all energy. “
In 2014, President Obama appointed Davis as executive director of the President’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, tasked with recommending reforms to restore confidence in community policing.
While in Washington, he also served on one of the many committees to help then San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris become state attorney general and then spoke in 2019. in support of Harris data collection and good practice elements. criminal justice plan during his presidential campaign.
In June 2020 testimony before the United States House Judiciary Committee on Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability, Davis said in part that “the issue of police reform cannot be disconnected from the discussions around COVID-19 and the next stimulus plan.
“Without the support of the federal government, the budget cuts that local and state governments will be forced to make will hamper all efforts at criminal justice reform, block all efforts to reinvest in community programs, maintain existing inequalities and further expose the open wound. of our racial tension that has yet to be addressed. We will once again be sitting on a powder keg waiting for the next tragedy to explode. “
Davis, a life member of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Officials), later served as that organization’s legislative secretary.
Editor Harry Harris contributed to this report. Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.