William B. Evans will leave his post as commissioner of the Boston Police Department (BPD) to become chief of the Boston College Police Department and director of public safety at BC. The news was first reported by The Boston Globe Monday morning, and a press release was issued shortly thereafter. Evans said his goodbyes during a press conference at City Hall with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, BC ’08, and Evans’ successor at BPD William Gross.
A BCPD source confirmed the Globe story to The Heights. Evans will bring some of his “people” on board, as well, according to the source. According to the press release, Evans’ start date will be August 6. Evans announced his final day as a Boston police officer will be on August 4.
“It has been a great ride,” Evans said at the press conference in regards to his time with BPD. “I will always be a policeman but I have to do what is best for my family and take a step back.”
“On behalf of the City of Boston I want to thank Commissioner Evans for his lifetime of service in keeping the residents of Boston safe,” Walsh said in a statement issued by the Mayor’s office. “The role of Police Commissioner is not an easy one, but is one that can make a tremendous impact in our neighborhoods. Under Commissioner Evans, the Boston Police Department has been a national model for community relations, for youth outreach and for making our neighborhoods safe. He is one of the best commissioners in the country and one of the best in Boston’s history.”
“Bill Evans’ extensive experience and his understanding of BC’s commitment to student formation make him an idea choice to lead our department,” John Burke, financial vice president and treasurer of BC said in the press release. “He will be a welcome addition to the BC community.”
Evans expanded further on why he decided to join the BCPD ranks in the press release.
“Coming to Boston College to serve as its executive director of public safety and chief of police is a wonderful opportunity for me and my family,” Evans said. “I have always admired the Jesuit mission of service to others, and I am honored to be able to serve one of the nation’s best universities, one that I know so well from my experience as a parent.”
“I have loved being a Boston police officer and working with the men and women of the BPD. It has been a great honor to lead this department as its police commissioner.”
WBZ-TV reported on June 28 that Evans was moving to BCPD, but BPD did not confirm the report. At the time, Walsh denied the reports, and Evans said he “hated” the rumors and would “continue to remain concentrated on his job,” according to WHDH-TV. Dunn told The Heights at the time that there was “nothing to report.” According to a follow-up interview with NBC10-Boston, “neither [Evans] nor Walsh directly refuted reports that Evans would leave.”
About a month after the initial reports came out, Evans publicly confirmed that he will take the top safety post at the University. Former chief John King announced his retirement this past April after eight years at BC.
“We are elated to have such an accomplished and nationally known police officer to lead and guide us into the next phase of policing here at Boston College,” the Boston College Police Patrolman’s Association said in a statement to The Boston Herald. “We look forward to a healthy and positive working relationship with Commissioner Evans in the coming days.”
In Evans’s over 30 years of experience at BPD, he rose from a cadet to the leader of the force. Notably, during his time as captain, he oversaw District 14 and the Allston-Brighton area, where parts of BC’s, Boston University’s, and Harvard’s campuses are located. It is the city’s most densely populated district and, according to the City of Boston’s website, had 75,000 residents at the time. He ran the district for nine years, playing a role in the erection of a fence around the Mods at BC, as well as increasing security at football games—something he also asked of Harvard.
He next served as the department’s superintendent. Most famously, Evans was key to keeping the Occupy Boston protests peaceful and worked 42 straight hours as one of the most important figures, alongside former commissioner Edward Davis, in handling the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing manhunt.
Evans was promoted to commissioner in 2014, a post his brother, Paul, held as well from 1994-2003.
Walsh referred to Bill Evans as “the best police commissioner in the country” at a press conference after the original WBZ-TV report.
“Throughout my career I have been guided by the principle that building good relationships and partnerships is the key to good policing,” said Evans. “I look forward to working with BC administrators, BC Police, faculty and students—as well as community members—to build relationships that will help provide a safe environment for all.”
Update (7/23/18, 1:22 p.m.): This article has been updated to include the Boston College Police Patrolman’s Association statement issued to The Boston Herald. In addition, quotes from the press release issued by University Communications have been added, as well as comments William Evans made during his press conference and a comment from Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Evans’ service to BPD. Originally, this story stated the University and Mayor’s Office could not confirm this story.
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