From Tottenham to Disney World
Kevin Evans' path to the FBI was nontraditional.
As a kid, growing up in North London, he and his older brother spent many Saturday afternoons at White Hart Lane (home of Tottenham Hotspur). The Spurs were a "real" football club as Kevin likes to say. There was also a park just a short distance from his house where kids could take a test on a cycling proficiency track, set out with stop signs and crossroads. To get permission to cycle in 1950s England, successfully completing this course was the minimum standard.
From early on, blue ran through Kevin's veins.
In 1958, the Evans family moved to Potters Bar in Hertfordshire where Kevin's father was a Metropolitan Police constable for 29 years. Later, his dad became the sergeant in Potters Bar station.
But still, Kevin's path to the FBI was more circumstance than destiny.
A software developer for National Cash Register (NCR), Kevin transferred to Dayton, Ohio in 1977 to work on the company's second generation Automatic Teller Machine (ATM). Kevin still likes to say that for a very brief period in his life, he printed money.
Kevin enjoyed the openness and friendliness of Americans. And, he enjoyed the space. Unlike in London, where it wasn't worth driving to town due to heavy traffic, Kevin loved the freedom of hopping in a car and driving anywhere. He fit in with American life. He stayed close to his family in England, making frequent visits to see his folks, but at 27 years old, Kevin had found "home."
A 1981 move to Melbourne, Florida to work for Harris Corporation on various Army and Navy projects led to an eventual move to Clarksburg, West Virginia, where the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) division is located. As a contractor for Harris and later for Lockheed Martin, Kevin developed communications software for various CJIS systems, including the National Crime and Information Center (NCIC), Criminal History Records, and the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System.
Then, in 2008, with an array of skills highly valued by the FBI, Kevin was hired by CJIS as a software developer. It was not long before Kevin became the lead software developer for NCIC. Then, after 20 years at CJIS, Kevin retired in 2013. He continues to consult with them on the next generation of NCIC software, but does so now from Central Florida.
Every few months, Kevin lunches with a group of former FBI agents who also retired to the Central Florida area. FBI agents make up just one-third of the FBI's workforce. Because of the rigors, stress and dangers of the job, however, they tend to be the most active in retirement, at least in terms of staying in touch. Although not a former agent, Kevin easily fits in and is accepted as a full-fledged member of the group. Winking at me, Kevin made a point of saying that he doesn't have to pick up the check to be included.
During the last gathering, Kevin looked around, thinking about how many of the former agents in the group were New Yorkers who retired to Central Florida for the weather and the tax benefits. Kevin smiled. He gets a kick out of New Yorkers. They say what they feel. Perhaps, more importantly, the say what they mean. And, in no uncertain terms, Kevin added.
Many identify with Trump's brashness. His balls. They are also unhappy with Comey and McCabe. They were raised in an FBI culture that often valued appearance over fact. Not a good thing, Kevin knows, but this is human nature. And, the FBI is no different in that regard. So, when Comey's 2016 announcement about Hillary Clinton thrust the FBI into the nontraditional role of final arbiter -- something it was not intended to be -- all bets were off.
But Kevin has also noticed -- as the public would expect of former FBI agents -- that they are waiting for all the facts to come in. They want to judge for themselves whether there was sufficient evidence to investigate the Trump campaign. They want to judge for themselves whether the agency was somehow politicized in 2016.
Regardless of the answers, most, like Kevin -- intensely patriotic and defensive when it comes to their former agency -- are wary of any politician, Trump included, who unfairly vilifies an agency whose people want nothing more than to protect and defend the country. Kevin's adopted home.
The greatest place on earth.
Kevin Evans is an advisor to Protect the FBI. James S. Davidson was an FBI special agent for 23 years. He investigated major crimes in Texas and California and served in Ukraine, Israel, and Washington, D.C. He is now president of Protect the FBI, a non-partisan organization whose mission is to safeguard the FBI from the partisan politics of both political parties. Twitter: @protectthefbi -- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProtecttheBureau/