Somerville Department of Racial and Social Justice Announces Community Applications for Civilian Oversight Task Force

Thirteen-Member Task Force Will Propose Model for Civilian Oversight Body in Somerville

Thursday, January 12, 2023
The City of Somerville’s Department of Racial and Social Justice (RSJ) today announces that it is seeking three Somerville community members to join RSJ’s Civilian Oversight Task Force. Task Force members will explore civilian oversight models for local law enforcement, gather data, and engage in research that will inform the future of a civilian oversight entity in Somerville, including its powers, duties, composition, and more.

Civilian Oversight boards work to enhance accountability and transparency in policing and build community trust. Boards can serve to investigate, audit, review, and monitor law enforcement processes, procedures, training, supervision practices, and community complaints.

In 2020, former Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone proposed new racial and social justice initiatives, including a community-driven process to establish a civilian oversight board. Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and Somerville City Councilors have carried forward that priority, and RSJ was tasked with launching and supporting the community process.

The 13-member Task Force will consist of these three open community seats, as well as additional community members, subject matter experts, and other key stakeholders.

All applicants must live or work in Somerville. Ideal candidates will be invested in the expansion of public safety and promoting accountability in law enforcement models. Applicants must be at least 17 years old.

Civilian Oversight Task Force members will be compensated for their time. Members will be expected to attend meetings, which will be hosted both virtually and in-person with a hybrid option, up to two hours per week over a period of no longer than four months. Members should also be prepared to attend potential additional meetings for subcommittees and readings. If virtual meetings create a barrier for you, please still apply, and our team will work to aid you with access and/or training.

How to Apply: Deadline Friday, February 10

The Civilian Oversight Task Force application will be available online starting Friday, January 13, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. on the City website at, the RSJ website at, and will be shared via City and RSJ social media feeds. Community members can also pick up printed applications at the Somerville City Hall front desk or by calling the RSJ Department at 781-808-8344.

Applications are due by 7 p.m. on Friday, February 10, 2023. Applicants can fill out the online form, email their responses to, or hand-deliver or mail them to Somerville City Hall, Attn: RSJ Department, 93 Highland Ave., Somerville, MA 02143.

As part of RSJ’s ongoing initiatives, community members will also have the opportunity later in January to apply to the Public Safety for All Task Force, the group tasked with generating policy recommendations for the City surrounding the Public Safety for All initiative. Both application forms will be available on the City website, RSJ website, and social media feeds.

RSJ is reachable for questions or more information at

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