CHESTNUT HILL (CBS) – He’s five weeks into a new position, and Bill Evans is adjusting to life a slower pace.
“I miss my job, I really do, but after 38 years it was time for a change,” the former Boston Police Commissioner said. He started a new job as the Police Chief at Boston College in early August, after 38 years with the Boston Police Department – five of which were spent as Commissioner.
After being the face of the department for the entire city of Boston, he’s protecting a different crowd: nearly 10,000 students at the Chestnut Hill campus.
On the syllabus? More family time, more down time, more sleep, and new responsibilities. “My wife’s already sick of me at home,” Evans joked in his office on Campanella Way. He says the decision didn’t come easily, but that at the end of the day, he knew it was best for his family.
“I loved what I did,” he said. “It was 24-7, but I’m a high energy guy who likes to go, go, go.”
Evans became BPD Commissioner in 2014. He says he “fell into” the job years after watching his brother in the same role. “I used to look at him and say, who in their right mind would want that job? Because I used to see how much it wore on him,” he said.
He never pictured himself following that same path, but says he wouldn’t have changed it for a second. “I always said there wasn’t ever a day that I got up in this job that I didn’t want to go to work,” he told WBZ News.
Evans is most proud of the drop in crime and arrests, and what he calls “improving community relations” in his time as Commissioner. “In some real difficult times over the last couple years, you know, with the shooting of unarmed black men, I think we really held it together because of the strong ties we’ve built [with the community],” he said.
His two biggest challenges while on the department he says were the 2011 Occupy Boston protests that last 70 days, and the Boston Marathon Bombings.
The latter, he says, will stay with him forever. “Seeing those young bodies on Boylston Street will always be something I’ll never forget,” he said.
Evans wasn’t yet Commissioner at the time, but had run the marathon that day before responding to the attacks. The following five days, he worked round the clock and was the first on scene when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was caught after the days-long manhunt.
His marathon experiences will be different in the years ahead. Will he keep running, and add to his list of 53 marathons run? Definitely, but he’ll also be in charge of keeping students safe on one of the most rambunctious days of the school year at Heartbreak Hill.
He says the new job will come with new challenges, and that he plans to tackle them two ways: as a former Boston cop, and as a father of three. His middle son is a Boston College graduate from the class of 2015. “I’m not only the chief, but I consider myself a parent to all these kids,” Evans said.
His priority now: a campus of nearly 10,000 students, move-in, football games, and weekend safety. It’s a major adjustment, but he says it’s a welcome one.
“At the end of it, it’s what’s best for [my family], coming to a great institution like this and spending more time with [each other],” he said.