As the City Council representative on the Police Chief Search Committee, I'm taking part in the process of identifying Somerville's next police chief. My colleagues on the search committee include the City's Director of Human Resources Anne Gill, four constituents from the community, and two members of the Police Department. I'm excited to be working with the committee to bring to an end a process that will have stretched over four years since former Chief David Fallon announced his resignation in March 2020, by the time we finish our task this spring.

The process has restarted this winter following an extremely frustrating outcome to the previous attempt to hire a police chief, when none of the three finalists was hired. I was personally very disappointed by this. I watched the finalist interviews and felt one of the finalist candidates, Din Jenkins, had a personality, skill set, and approach to policing that made him an intriguing candidate. As the Deputy Chief of the relatively-small Boston Housing Authority Public Safety Department, I understand concerns around lack of managerial experience with a police department on the scale of Somerville's. But I believe he was an intriguing candidate who offered a really promising vision for where he would take the Police Department.

So we find ourselves back at Square One in the police chief search process. The good news is that the roadmap and timeline shared with the search committee were extremely aggressive. However, this was prior to the departure of Racial & Social Justice Department Director Denise Molina Capers in January, and we've yet to hear about any impacts on the search process timeline.

I want to publicly thank Chief Charles Femino, who answered the call and came out of retirement to return to Somerville in an interim capacity to steer the ship while we found our next permanent chief. Chief Femino has made a number of policy changes within the Police Department that have helped with morale at a time when that has been an issue within the department. The City Council approved a home rule petition requested by the Mayor at our February 8 meeting that, if approved by Beacon Hill, would extend the authorization for Chief Femino to stay on beyond June 1, should that prove necessary. I'm hopeful it won't be needed, but it's good to not paint ourselves into a corner deadline-wise.


Jake Wilson


Somerville City Councilor-At-Large (he/him/él)