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One-On-One With Boston Police Commissioner William Evans

By Jonathan Elias, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – Keeping Boston safe and secure is the top priority for the city’s new Police Commissioner. For William Evans, the job is personal. As a lifelong Boston resident, he wants safe streets for everyone’s kids, including his own.

“We didn’t have a whole lot but we had each other,” Evans said.

Six boys growing up in South Boston, William was the baby. And his was not an easy path. At three he lost his mother to cancer. When he was nine he lost a brother.

“Ran across the street unfortunately and got hit by a hit and run vehicle,” William said. “We were inseparable at the time so it was tough.”

Joseph Evans was 11 years old.

A park was dedicated to Joseph just down the street from their house. But life wouldn’t get easier. At 14 he lost his father. All he had left were his four brothers.

“They brought me up,” he said. “They watched out for me and made sure I was well taken care of and we still all live right in this community a couple blocks each other.”

His oldest brother Paul is two doors down.

“He had challenges but we all stuck together and we worked it through and along the way we had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs,” Paul said.

His brother James lives just around the corner.

“You couldn’t go by anyone without someone getting you in a headlock or giving you noogies all kinds of stuff like that,” James said. “That’s a lot of the way we showed love.”

Paul, William and James Evans. (WBZ-TV)

Paul, William and James Evans. (WBZ-TV)

The noogies are gone but not the love. And now they support him with his new job as Commissioner of the Boston Police. More than three decades and nearly every rank on the force he’s now the commissioner.

“I know the ins and outs of this city. I love this city, I’ve lived here all my life and nobody will work harder,” William said.

Public service and hard work are themes in the Evans family. His brother Paul was the former police commissioner. Brothers James and John were district and deputy chiefs of the Boston Fire Department.

Evans is wasting no time. He’s meeting with local clergy to get them involved in the effort to reduce street violence. That’s just one avenue he’s pursuing.

“I’m hoping to get into the schools earlier that’s one of my goals, whether it be first and second grade and let these kids know that we are here to help them and don’t be afraid of the police.”

He’s had to buy some shirts and ties because he can’t wear his uniform every day. His office has a view and he’s surrounded by all the medals he’s won from the marathons he’s raced, including the bib from the race that changed everything.

“I got word of the terrible tragedy and I got right back there and 40 hours later was the first time a lot of us went to sleep,” he said.

And now he’s a part of the planning for this year’s race and explains how life can never be the same.

“It’s taught us that unfortunately life isn’t the way it used to be and we’re gearing up right now for the marathon come this April with a lot of extra precautions that we’ve never had to take.”

Commissioner Evans has run the Boston Marathon 18 times and he’s qualified to run it again this year. It’s his primary job to keep the race safe, so he is debating on whether he will part of this year’s field.

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