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Public input sought on police chief search

Posted by boston.com  March 3, 2014 12:00 PM

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The following was submitted by the City of Somerville: 

Somerville is seeking a new police chief and the City wants to hear from the community what characteristics and qualities they would like to see in a new chief, with a public hearing scheduled for March 5 and a survey that will be available both online and in hard copy.
The public hearing on Wednesday, March 5, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the East Somerville Community School at 50 Cross St. 

The Waters Consulting Group representative Chuck Rohr, hired by the City to assist in the police chief search, will solicit input from the public on the qualities and characteristics desired by the next chief, issues facing the city and what the public believes the city needs from the Police Department. Translators for Spanish, Portuguese and Haitian Creole will be available at the hearing. A consultant with Waters Executive Recruitment, Rohr previously worked with the City on the last two police chief selection processes.

Community members unable to attend the public hearing can provide feedback through an online survey that will be posted to the City website next week, rating the importance of various police chief candidate attributes and answering four questions. Paper copies of the survey will also be available at the Somerville Police Department, City Hall Welcome Desk, all Somerville Public Schools, the Central Library and its East and West Branches. Completed surveys should be returned to the City of Somerville Personnel Department on the lower level of City Hall.

Rohr will also meet with key stakeholder groups and organizations across Somerville next week after the public hearing to solicit further feedback on what those organizations are seeking in a new police chief. The collected community feedback will then be provided to the Police Chief Selection Committee and used to draft the brochure that will advertise the open police chief position.

“Finding the next leader of the Somerville Police Department requires soliciting the widest range of feedback to ensure that the process represents the great diversity we have in our city,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “We also want to ensure this selection process is open, transparent and public, as outlined in the Somerville City Charter and City Ordinance. Through this public meeting and survey, we hope to outline the community’s values that should be embodied in the leadership of the Somerville Police Department, find a candidate who matches those values and continue the department’s success as an effective and efficient model of community-based policing with a diversified workforce and decreased crime citywide.”

Mayor Curtatone will select a new police chief in accordance with the City Charter and City Ordinance, which requires the creation of the Police Chief Selection Committee. Between three and five candidates chosen as finalists by the selection committee will take part in a public interview, with residents and community members invited to attend and submit written questions ahead of time as well. Finalist interviews are tentatively scheduled to take place in June.

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