Boston police Commissioner William Evans raises his hand in thanks as he gets applause from Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley (left) and Mayor Marty Walsh (right) during his introduction as the new head of the BPD. Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro
A crowded room of more than 100 police officers and civilian employees of the Boston Police Department burst into loud applause on Thursday when Commissioner William Evans and Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross were formally introduced as the new heads of the city's police force.
Evans, who rose through the ranks of the department after starting as a police cadet in 1980, was formally introduced as commissioner by Mayor Marty Walsh at Boston Police Headquarters. He's been called a well-respected leader among the rank-and-file members of the department.
"This is an important day for the people of our city," Walsh said.
Evans spoke a lot about continuing efforts with community policing to help reduce crime in Boston and said his greatest strength is working with the community and listening to the concerns of the residents.
"We see the young kids, the faces on them when they see this violence. We see the elderly held captive in their neighborhoods. That's something, honestly, when I go out there, that's what I hate to see, that people are fearful," Evans said.
Evans called the BPD the greatest department in the nation and also gave credit to officers and civilian employees who "deserve all the credit."
"Commissioners come and go, but the job goes on and they deserve so much credit," he said.
Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley had high praise for Evans and recalled how he was watching the Boston Marathon last year when the bombs went off and reported to the command post shortly after. By the time he got there, Evans was already in uniform with sweat running from his brow because he had just finished running, Conley said.
When asked if his brother, Paul, who also served as the department's commissioner from 1994 to 2003, had any advice for him, Evans said jokingly, "keep running," then added "He basically just says keep your head high and watch your back," which prompted laughter from those in attendance.
Also formally introduced on Thursday was Gross, another nearly 30-year veteran who is the first black chief in the police department's history.
Walsh called that milestone "a great day" for Boston. He said he and Evans made the decision to promote Gross together. Walsh had said during his campaign that he would help diversify city government and address concerns of diversity among the command staff of the police department.
Gross called Evans "the best commissioner in the world," and echoed Evans' commitment to community policing.
"You want to reduce violence ...we have to do this together. Everyone has to do their job in the community to the best of their ability. Everyone has to put aside their differences and work together," Gross said. "I can't wait to get started."