Establishing Civilian Oversight of Police

In June of 2020, the Somerville City Council and the Mayor’s Office both publicly pledged to establish “an independent, civilian oversight structure of the Somerville Police Department with membership representative of the community’s diversity.”

The term “civilian oversight of police” can mean different things in different municipalities. According to the National Association of Civilian Oversight in Law Enforcement (NACOLE), there are around 150 civilian oversight agencies across the United States, including four in Massachusetts, and the structure and power of these agencies vary in different communities.

To establish a civilian oversight structure that works for Somerville, the City Council is beginning an ongoing and open community outreach process, beginning in March 2021. This will be followed by a legislative process to formally create a civilian oversight agency in Somerville, based on the input and feedback we receive from the public, and based on best practices from around the country.

To learn more about how civilian oversight works in various cities and towns across the country, and about the proposed community outreach plan, please see the City Council’s draft report.

  • Community Meetings & Outreach

  • Take the Survey

  • Draft Preliminary Analysis Report

When She Calls 911: Women & Safety Virtual Community Meeting
Postponed ― New dated TBD

Join the meeting to learn about our ongoing work to establish civilian oversight in Somerville, and how you can get involved. Featuring City Councilors At Large Mary Jo Rossetti and Kristen Strezo and Ward 7 Councilor Katjana Ballantyne. Please join the meeting and share your experience or hear from other women in Somerville as we aim to create and sustain an equitable and safer Somerville.  The virtual meeting will be held on the Zoom teleconferencing platform. You can join the meeting by phone, online via Zoom, or watch it without signing in on the City’s GovTV channel and YouTube.

Meeting login details will be posted here shortly before the event.


Civilian Oversight of Police: First Community Meeting
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 - 6:30 p.m.

On March 24, 2021, the Somerville City Council held the first public information session on establishing a community process for civilian oversight of police. The meeting was held via Zoom, with live interpretation provided in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Nepali, and Vietnamese. You can watch a video recording of the meeting below.