Amid the many conflicts between the police and minorities that have erupted in American cities over the last couple of years, Boston, a city with a history of racial tensions, has been comparatively calm. Some attribute that to William B. Evans, Boston’s police commissioner, whose leadership style and close relationships with minority communities have been a stabilizing influence during these tumultuous times. In a Q&A with the New York Times, Evans suggests that his roots in working-class South Boston help him connect with minority communities.
Evans, 57, a trim marathon runner, has served as the city’s police commissioner since 2014. He described his childhood and its relevance to his job today: “I was a young kid who didn’t have a whole lot, and the community brought me up. My friends’ mothers made sure I ate at night. Sometimes these kids think I had a whole different upbringing and had everything handed to me. I always like to let them know, I slept in a bed with two of my brothers. We were on the second floor of a triple-decker. My father was a truck driver, and when he passed, I had to overcome a lot of obstacles, very much like a lot of you guys. People were compassionate to me growing up, and that’s shaped my leadership style.”