FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, Feb. 1, 2019
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Ashland Police Chief Craig Davis to Retire
ASHLAND — Town Manager Michael Herbert reports with bittersweet emotions that Ashland Police Chief Craig Davis will retire this spring after six years as the town’s police chief and 34 years in municipal law enforcement.
Chief Davis came to Ashland in 2013 after decades spent with the Framingham Police Department. Almost immediately, he brought forth sweeping change and instituted a litany of new programs and services that transformed what was then very much a department in transition in Ashland.
“Chief Davis’ leadership and professional demeanor inspired a new wave of confidence in the Ashland Police Department from our community members,” Town Manager Herbert said. “Personally, I consider it a privilege and honor to have worked with Chief Davis. His contributions to the community and to policing in general will be long-lasting. We are sad to see him go, but on behalf of the entire Town of Ashland, I wish to sincerely thank Chief Davis for his service to our community.”
Town Manager Herbert noted that the community’s confidence in Chief Davis allowed him to successfully advocate for the first increase in Ashland Police Department staffing in many years and also increased investment in facilities, fleet and training for the officers.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the people Ashland for allowing me to serve as their Police Chief for the last five and a half years. I am thankful for the tremendous support I have received from the town’s leadership, town employees, business community, and the residents,” Chief Davis said. “I also want to thank and commend the men and women of the Ashland Police Department for their devotion and dedication to providing public safety to the community. It has been the highest privileged to have worked alongside such a fine group of professional officers and support staff who are devoted to keeping Ashland safe.”
Perhaps most of all, however, Chief Davis is known for his impact on law enforcement’s approach to mental illness and addiction, two problems that are faced by every community.
During his career in Framingham, Chief Davis created the Jail Diversion Program, a collaborative effort between the police department and the local mental health crisis team. The program embeds a mental health clinician within the police department to co-respond along officers for calls for service involving people who are mentally ill or who are in crisis. The program was first implemented in 2003 and has since been replicated across the state to many police departments and communities. When he arrived in Ashland, Chief Davis expanded the effort to create the state’s first Regional Jail Diversion Program in partnership with the communities of Holliston, Hopkinton and Sherborn (The ASHH program).
Chief Davis also trained all department personnel in Mental Health First Aid, a specialized course to help police officers quickly assess and properly communicate with those who are suffering from a mental health crisis.
Chief Davis’ approach to mental health has caused a regional paradigm shift in the way law enforcement agencies serve those with mental illness, and his approach and programs have been modeled by countless other agencies in Massachusetts and elsewhere.
Staffing and deployment of resources were key areas of focus during Chief Davis’ tenure. He opened a police sub-station in Market Basket Plaza on Pond Street to increase police visibility in that area of town and to provide additional meeting and training space. He also added a second school resource officer to ensure that a specially-trained officer was in the high school but also available to the other schools in town at the same time.
Chief Davis has also ushered the Ashland Police Department through the sweeping opioid epidemic and the legalization of marijuana in the following ways:
- APD trained several officers as Drug Recognition Experts to enhance the department’s ability to detect people who are operating vehicles impaired by drugs. (Created in response to the legalization of marijuana).
- Chief Davis sought to create a safer community by partnering with the Decisions At Every Turn coalition to provide annual alcohol responsibility awareness seminars for all liquor license holders in town.
- Enforced liquor law violations resulting in the closing of two establishments that were habitual liquor law violators.
- Ashland became the first Metrowest police department to deploy Narcan in cruisers.
- Installed a “drug take-back” kiosk in lobby of the police station, available 24/7 to the public to dispose of unwanted narcotics and has been instrumental in collecting several hundred pounds of drugs that would have otherwise remained in people’s homes.
- Created an Opiate Recovery Outreach team that partners with social workers to “reach out” to people who have overdosed on narcotics to assist them into recovery and treatment.
Last but certainly not least, Chief Davis was instrumental in the Ashland Public Safety Building Committee’s successful efforts to bring a much-needed new public safety complex to Ashland, which voters approved late last year.
Chief Davis is expected to leave the department at the end of March. He has accepted a private sector job. The entire Ashland community joins in thanking him and wishing him good luck in his new adventure.