FALLON GETS SWORN IN AS SOMERVILLE’S NEW POLICE CHIEF

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By William Tauro

This past Thursday evening, Somerville Police Deputy Chief David Fallon was sworn in as the City’s new Chief of Police at the Board of Aldermen meeting at city hall.

Dozens of friends, relatives, elected officials and co-workers packed the alderman chambers at city hall to support Fallon’s confirmation into office.

At the ceremony, Mayor Curtatone praised Interim Somerville Police Chief Charles Femino for his outstanding role as chief for the past ten months while the selection process was under way.

Born and raised in Somerville, Fallon joined the Somerville Police Department in 1998 as a patrolman. A graduate of Somerville High School whose parents still live in the city, Fallon rose through the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and eventually deputy chief. He has also served in the U.S. Air Force, retiring at the rank of master sergeant, and holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from Western New England College, a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from University of Massachusetts-Boston, and an associate degree in applied science from Community College of the Air Force.

Fallon’s accomplishments in Somerville include the implementation of the Police Department’s Smart Policing Grant, which reduces crime and repeat offenders by using data analysis to inform an evidence-based and problem-oriented policing model. The program is part of the only regional smart policing initiative in the country, in partnership with Cambridge and Everett. He also led the Somerville Police Department’s pilot of one of the first juvenile jail diversion programs in the country, in conjunction with the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, steering juvenile offenders away from the criminal justice system and towards lives of achievement and opportunity, which likewise reduces repeat offenders.

Fallon led the effort to develop a regional crisis intervention team, resulting in a new center in Somerville that trains police officers from Somerville and neighboring communities on how to respond to individuals with mental health and substance abuse issues, helping improve outcomes for people in the criminal justice system primarily because of behavioral issues and cognitive limitations. As East District Commander for two-and-a-half years, Fallon oversaw a 15 percent decrease in part one crimes—aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft—compared to the two-and-a-half years preceding his tenure as commander. Fallon’s last 12 months as East District Commander saw a 27 percent decline in robberies, a 37 percent decline in car breaks and a 38 percent decline in car thefts.

“The Somerville Police Department has evolved into a model of community policing, where law enforcement proactively works with the community to yield positive outcomes instead of acting solely in a reactive, punitive way. David Fallon has been a big part of that evolution,” said Alderman at-Large Jack Connolly, the Board of Aldermen representative on the Police Chief Search Committee. “The Search Committee put a lot of work into finding the best candidates among those who applied, resulting in the right candidate to lead our department further into the 21st century.”

The City selected Waters Consulting Group through a request for proposals in December to assist in the search for a new police chief. Working with the Police Chief Search Committee, Waters Consulting representative Chuck Rohre interviewed City officials and over 40 constituent group representatives, held a public hearing and conducted a citywide survey that had more than 200 responses to obtain input on the qualities and characteristics desired of the next police chief. By the April deadline, 37 candidates applied for the position, which the Search Committee narrowed down to four initial finalists. A public hearing with the four finalists was held on June 25, with the public submitting questions through the City website and in writing at locations around the city. A team of City officials led by the Mayor then interviewed each of the candidates before narrowing the finalists down to two. Mayor Curtatone and a team of officials conducted site visits on July 21 and 31 before recommending Fallon for the position.
Former Somerville Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello announced in late 2013 that he would step down in order to care for a family member. Charlie Femino has been serving as Acting Chief of Police since Dec. 1, 2013.

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