Captain Confronts Drinking

Arielle A. Fridson

William B. Evans demanded more security for the UC's attemptecd Snoop Dogg concert and aims to shorten the 2006 Harvard-Yale tailgate.

He wakes at 5 a.m. and 15 minutes later he is out the door, running eight miles in South Boston. Once back at his brownstone, he eats a plain bagel—no cream cheese—and rushes his three kids off to school. By 7:30 a.m., Captain William B. Evans is at his desk.

As the head of District 14 within the Boston Police Department (BPD), he oversees 75,000 inhabitants in Allston and Brighton, an area that includes Harvard Business School and the Stadium. His district, containing Boston College and Boston University, is the most densely populated in the city, and his toughest task has been smoothing over town-gown relations.

It’s a big job, but that’s not why Evans is known on this side of the Charles. Here, he’s the bad guy: the man behind the push for stricter alcohol policies at the Harvard-Yale tailgate. Last month, he became a barrier between Snoop Dogg and Harvard, refusing to sign the event license unless more officers were hired—a cost that the Undergraduate Council (UC) couldn’t cover.

Harvard is number three on his list of campuses. First come Boston University (BU) and Boston College (BC), where he sends some of his 125 officers to check IDs at tailgates and goes himself each fall to warn freshmen of the dangers of drinking.

Evans is also largely in charge of Operation Student Shield, a Boston initiative launched in January to cut out loud parties and public drinking—activities that can make town-gown relations tenuous.

He says both colleges have plans to expand their campuses into the surrounding neighborhoods, making his job as liaison between the City of Boston and the colleges even tougher.

But on a recent Monday afternoon, he had to give a superior a tour of the District 14 building, and then rush out to a Red Sox game to oversee crowd control. By the time he returns to his brownstone and his wife and kids, it might be near midnight.

“I’m one of those guys who has to keep going,” he says, taking a sip of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee which, along with another plain bagel, completes his lunch.

HARD-KNOCK LIFE

Evans, 46, was the youngest in a family of six boys. His mother died when he was one, and eight years later, the brother he was closest to was struck by a car and died.

“I had a lot of tragedy,” he says. “I sort of had a quick, rude awakening.”

Then, when he was 13, his father passed away, leaving Evans to be raised by his four older brothers. In a cramped three-decker in South Boston, Evans shared a bed with two other brothers.

It wasn’t easy growing up in the South Boston, where he learned to deal with tough streets and tougher people. Still, he worked his way up to Suffolk University on Beacon Hill for his bachelor’s degree and then into the police force.

Evans follows family tradition. Two of his brothers are firefighters, and one was Boston Police Commissioner before he retired.

Once Evans graduated from the academy and joined the force 25 years ago, he rose through the ranks quickly with intense studying. For six months before each promotion, he would pore over books day and night, neglecting his family to prepare for the exam. The exam score alone determines who gets the spot.

“You literally have to put your life on hold,” he says.