Boston Police Commissioner William Evans formally announced his retirement on Monday, making way for William Gross to become the first-ever person of color to lead the department.
"I'll always be a policeman," Evans said during a press conference at City Hall Monday morning.
The 59-year-old outgoing commissioner will oversee the police force at Boston College starting in August.
Serving as the police commissioner for the Boston Police Department for the last four years, Evans' career began in 1980 when he joined the force as a police cadet.
He was appointed as interim police commissioner in late 2013 by then-Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Mayor Marty Walsh chose Evans for a permanent position as commissioner in early 2014.
"I have a bit of a longer commute. I go from four miles to maybe six miles," Evans joked about his new job at Boston College.
"We are elated to have such an accomplished and nationally known police officer to lead and guide us into the next phase of policing here at Boston College," the Boston College Police Department's union said in a tweet. "We look forward to a healthy and positive working relationship with Commissioner Evans in the coming days."
Evans had previously denied rumors last month that he was looking to retire, telling NBC10 Boston that he has "loved this job."
Gross, who currently serves as the department's superintendent-in-chief, was named as the Boston Police Department's next commissioner by Walsh during Monday's press conference at City Hall.
He has spent the last four years as the highest-ranked uniformed officer and has overseen the city's detectives, field officers and intelligence gathering. He has also been a champion of the department's efforts to use police body cameras.
Gross called his new job "an honor," and said he has learned much as Evans' second-in-command. He also extolled the department's leading practices of community policing.
"Boston is the best village in the country, we are the hub of the universe, the country started from here, so women like my mother are reinforced by the community. We can do that for every family in Boston," he said.
Walsh said Gross' historic appointment was symbolic to the city of Boston.
"Chief Gross is a leader in our communities of color. He brings with him a lifetime of trust and understanding, and he's someone people turn to for help and advice," Walsh said. "He's the right person at the right time for this job."
"The Boston Police Commissioner's job is a massive and multi-faceted management responsibility, but Bill Evans approached it with a deeply personal touch," Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley said in a statement. "His love for the city and its rsidents is matched only by his pride in the department he's served for almost 40 years."
Massachusetts State Police Col. Kerry Gilpin also extended well-wishes toward Evans and Gross.
"I congratulate Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans on his long and distinguished BPD career and wish him the best as he begins his new position with Boston College," Gilpin said in a statement. "I also congratulate Superintendent-in-Chief William Gross for his highly-deserved appointment as the next Commissioner. Chief Gross is a champion of the city of Boston and its people, and I look forward to a close working relationship as our agencies fulfill our respective public safety missions."