Somerville’s Racial and Social Justice Department Launches Police Staffing and Operations Analysis for Reimagining Policing and Public Safety Efforts

The City of Somerville’s Racial and Social Justice (RSJ) Department has contracted with Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. to conduct a staffing and operations analysis of the Somerville Police Department (SPD) as part of RSJ’s ongoing work around reimagining policing and public safety in Somerville. 

Raftelis has been tasked with measuring the workload of the SPD, studying staffing, operations, and organization, and analyzing that data. Once completed, this analysis will help inform both the Administration as well as community members who engage in reimagining efforts on the City’s public safety resources and needs.

“As we move forward with the work of reimagining policing and public safety, it is important that we do so with a full understanding of our community’s public safety needs, current SPD resources, and information about where changes can be made,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “The RSJ Department has already done a lot of important work in this area, and I look forward to continued conversations about how we can work together to support efforts around reimagining what public safety looks like in our community.”

RSJ staff members have undertaken a range of efforts to advance reimagining policing and public safety efforts including holding small group listening sessions with communities that have recently seen an increase in gun violence, launching efforts to establish a Youth Justice League to ensure young voices are heard, recruiting Reimaging Policing Community Engagement Ambassadors, expansive qualitative data gathering via dozens of meetings and interviews with residents and stakeholders, and other efforts grounded in grass-roots best practices for reaching persons who are often not heard. 

The RSJ Department is preparing for a community meeting later this month. Updates on RSJ’s work and information on how community members can get involved with reimagining policing and public safety and other racial and social justice initiatives will also be shared in multiple ways, including on the RSJ website, somervillema.gov/rsj, which is currently under construction.  

“This is a major step for us to make sure our work to inform reimagining of policing and public safety is fully informed, responsible, intentional, and transparent about where we are as a city now so that we can work with the community to explore and shape goals,” said Denise Molina Capers, Director of the Department of Racial and Social Justice. 

Chosen via a bid process according to state purchasing laws, Raftelis is a consulting firm with over 28 years of experience working with local governments and utilities. Public Safety analysis is among their municipal specialties. They have worked with 38 of the country’s 50 largest cities.