The Paraclete has chosen well. Its 2016 honoree, “A Man for Boston,” is William Evans, the City of Boston’s Police Commissioner. Athlete, family man, lifelong South Bostonian and career police officer, he epitomizes what effective law enforcement is all about. Join us in honoring Evans at the Paraclete’s Annual Reception, Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Boston’s Police Commissioner William B. Evans will be honored by the Paraclete during the Annual Reception on Wednesday evening, Feb. 24, at Boston College High School (150 Morrissey Boulevard, in Dorchester). The ceremony that will honor Evans is entitled “A Man for Boston.”
Except for one year in college, Evans is a lifelong resident of South Boston. His upbringing in a three-decker on East Sixth Street is a fine example of the power of both family and neighborhood. He was the youngest of six brothers (yes, it was three to a bed). They lost their mother, Catherine, when he was only three years old. His father, Paul, was a Local 25 truck driver and forklift operator for the Herald American newspaper, who devoted his own life to raising and providing for his six boys.
“We stuck together – morning and night, there was always food on the table,” he said. Evans calls his father “a good dad,” who took “great pride in his sons.” Three of them, Paul (USMC), John (Army), and Jim (Army), served in Vietnam. But tragedies and victories were yet to come. Young Bill Evans lost his brother Joe to a fatal hit-and-run accident. Then his father Paul died when young Bill was 14. He was raised by his older brothers, with much help from his neighbors and extended family.
Bill Evans’ education included high school at St. Sebastian Country Day School, which was arranged through the Gate of Heaven Parish. He spent a year in Hawaii at Chaminade College, returning to Boston to attend Suffolk University and earn his degree in Government.
He became a Boston Police Department (BPD) Cadet in 1980. Over the next 36 years to the present, he steadily worked his way up through the ranks – patrolman, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and superintendent. He served as a captain in the South End, Roxbury and Allston/Brighton. His assignments as a superintendent included security for President Obama’s visit and overseeing the “Occupy Boston” movement, responsible for its orderly conduct and wind-up. On April 15, 2013, Evans actually had completed the Boston Marathon, when he was called out of a hot tub to the tragic bombing. He then organized the police efforts, up through that final night in Watertown when the younger Tsarnaev brother was captured alive.
Later in 2013, Mayor Menino appointed Evans interim police commissioner; he was permanently appointed by Mayor Marty Walsh early in 2014. Since then, he has imbued the BPD with the concept of “buying into the community,” partly because of his own youthful experiences in a strong, caring neighborhood. He also credits Mayor Walsh with good, citywide leadership. Crime is down; homicides are at a 16-year low. In Evan’s opinion, “Drugs and mental health issues are the chief causes of crime in Boston. The police must now focus on community, keeping people out of the enforcement system whenever possible.”
Bill Evans is not just the commissioner and a fine athlete (49 marathons around the world, with a best time of 2:51); he’s also a family man. He, his wife Terry, and their three young-adult children – Carolyn, John, and William – reside in their East Broadway home. He gets together regularly with his four brothers.
And Evans is a great fan of Paraclete, where all three of his kids went when they were in middle school. Both his son John and his wife Terry have taught there. So Commissioner Evans hopes to you’ll attend his “time” on Feb. 24 in support of one of South Boston’s key organizations. The Mayor and many other guests will be on hand as well. We’ll be paying tribute to one of South Boston’s homegrown “good, hard-working guys.”
For tickets, contact Eileen DeMichele (Paraclete.org; 617-268-5552). See you there.