City to launch inclusive selection process for new Chief; outgoing Chief David Fallon lauded in advance of previously announced retirement
SOMERVILLE, MA – Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone announced today that former Acting Chief of Police Charles Femino has agreed to serve as the Acting Chief of Police effective December 12, 2020, until a permanent replacement is found for departing Chief David Fallon, who announced his pending retirement in March.
Femino most recently served as the Chief of Police for Endicott College. Prior to that, he had a distinguished career with the Somerville Police Department from 1984 to 2014 where he served as Chief of Detectives for over 15 years, as Deputy Chief, and as Acting Chief from 2013 to 2014. Femino holds a Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law, a Masters in Education from Boston University, and a Bachelors in Criminal Science from Northeastern University.
Chief of Police David Fallon is retiring on December 11, 2020. Femino will start working for the department on November 30 to ensure a smooth transition and will continue with the department until a permanent replacement is found. As the Acting Chief, Femino will not be eligible to apply for the permanent Chief of Police position.
“We thank Chief Fallon for his years of service to the Somerville community and welcome Charles Femino back to the department,” said Mayor Curtatone. “With his leadership ability and extensive policing experience, I trust that he will lead the department through this transition as smoothly and effectively as he did in 2013.”
Initial steps to launch the selection process for a new Chief are now underway after being paused due to the pandemic and the necessary prioritization of the COVID-19 emergency response. Mayor Curtatone will select a new police chief in accordance with the City Charter and City Ordinance, which requires a selection committee that consists of the City’s Director of Personnel; one member of the City Council appointed by the Council President; two members of the general public appointed by the Mayor; two members of the general public appointed by the Council President; and two sworn officers of the Somerville Police Department, one representing the patrol officers’ union and one representing the superior officers’ union, both elected by those respective unions.
The ordinance also includes the director of the City’s multicultural affairs commission in the selection committee, but Mayor Curtatone will submit to the City Council a proposed change to the ordinance to include the City’s new Racial and Social Justice (RSJ) Director instead. An inclusive hiring committee that includes representation from the community, the City Council, and the School Committee is currently reviewing applications for the RSJ Director and expects to identify a finalist in early 2021.
The police chief selection committee, which will be convened in early 2021, will choose between three and five finalists, who will take part in a public interview, with community members invited to attend and submit written questions ahead of time.
“We are fortunate to have such a distinguished and skilled veteran of the Somerville Police lead the department as we conduct our search for a new chief,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “I have every confidence that Charles Femino will ensure the continued excellence of SPD’s role in our COVID-19 emergency response as well as continue the important work Chief Fallon has accelerated as we move the department forward during this period of reimagining policing and advancing racial and social justice. The search for a new chief will be an open, transparent, and inclusive public process, and I look forward to the community’s engagement with this important work.”
“Chief Fallon’s tireless commitment to compassionate, community-based policing has set the bar high for his successor. His embrace of forward-thinking approaches and continual learning and growth for the department — be it jail diversion, victim advocacy, deployment of social workers as part of police response, crisis intervention, anti-bias efforts, or de-escalation — has set a standard for his peers. He has championed not only safety for all, but fairness and equity, both in Somerville and through his regional leadership. As he prepares for the next phase of his life, we wish him all the best and commit to ensure that his legacy of excellence and progress will carry on.”
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