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Police Chief Selection Process

"Selecting the right candidate to lead Somerville’s Police Department is an immense responsibility, and one that demands a thoughtful and intentional recruitment," says Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. "Our search must result in a pool of candidates who are both professionally qualified and ready to join our efforts to pursue a community-driven approach to public safety for all." ―Mayor Katjana Ballantyne


The City of Somerville is reopening its nationwide search for its next Police Chief. The Police Chief Selection Committee will reconvene with updated membership and to review candidates and select finalists to submit to Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and the City Council for consideration. Selecting a new police chief is a community-driven process, and the Police Chief Selection Committee is providing several opportunities for resident input as it works to find Somerville’s next police chief.


Former SPD Chief of Police, Charles Femino, has accepted the role of Acting Chief of Police. Per Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2023 until a permanent chief is appointed. 


Contact Information

Selection Process

GovHR, an executive recruiting firm, will continue to work closely with Somerville’s Racial and Social Justice Department (RSJ) and Human Resources to conduct a rigorous, nationwide search for  applicants.

Police Chief Search Committee consists of constituents, subject matter experts, local elected officials, and City staff, including: 

  • Jake Wilson, City Councilor at Large
  • Lieutenant Michael Capasso, SPD 
  • Officer Christine Bork, SPD
  • Kevin Dickinson, Somerville Constituent
  • Denise Lauers, Somerville Constituent
  • Paula Magnelli, Somerville Constituent
  • Lori Segall, Somerville Constituent 
  • Anne Gill, Director of Human Resources 


Who We're Looking For

The City is looking for a police chief who can transform and, in action, embody the concepts of procedural justice and public safety for all in policing in Somerville. The ideal candidate for this position has a proven track record in law enforcement, community engagement, and innovation. Our next police chief will embrace Somerville’s values of equity, transparency, and accountability. She or he will be a progressive leader who believes in anti-racism and has demonstrated a commitment to community-oriented service and engagement. 

Somerville’s police chief oversees 127 sworn officers and 32 civilian personnel working at the City’s three police stations. The chief will oversee all the police department’s operations, programs and initiatives, including crime analysis, detective bureau, patrol, special operations, professional standards, and traffic enforcement. 

The application period is open through Friday, March 1, 2024. To learn more about this position, you can view the job posting and brochure on the GOVHR website, which offers a closer look into the responsibilities and expectations that come with this position.

Community Involvement

We need your help in choosing the next Somerville Police Chief. Please watch for opportunities for City residents to join the discussion, and offer input. Check back here for upcoming opportunities, and materials from past sessions.  

Past Meetings 

The Candidates

The three finalists for the City of Somerville Police Chief are as follows. After watching the interviews, community members can provide input via a community feedback form. Feedback will be accepted through Thursday, May 16, at 12 p.m.


Al Stiehler - Interview May 7th @ 9:00 AM

Al began his law enforcement career when he joined the NJ Transit Police in 1987. He worked in a variety of units including patrol, communications, training, internal affairs, and investigations.

Al was promoted to captain in 2002, serving as the Commanding Officer of the Hoboken Region until 2006. He was then transferred to the agency’s largest command, Newark Penn Station, and served as the Commanding Officer until 2012. He then served for three years as the Commanding Officer of the Investigations and Professional Standards Bureau before retiring as the Deputy Chief of Patrol on February 1, 2017.

In August of 2017, Al accepted a position with the MTA Police Department in New York. He served as the Chief of Field Operations and oversaw Patrol, Emergency Operations, Special Operations, Communications, and Investigations. He was responsible for over 1000 officers and a jurisdiction of nearly 5,000 square miles.

Al joined the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System in January of 2021 as the Director of Transit Security and Passenger Safety. He is responsible for approximately 100 MTS employees and 200 contract security personnel. He has led the transformation of the department by aggressively pursuing improvements to security policies and procedures.

Al is a faculty member for the NJ State Chiefs of Police Association Command and Leadership Academy and is also an adjunct instructor for The Texas A&M Enhanced Incident Management Course. He received his Master’s Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2020 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.

Leon Krolikowski - Interview May 9th @ 11:00 AM

Leon retired from the New Canaan, Connecticut, Police Department after nearly thirty-four years of service. In his career, he served as a dispatcher, police officer, field training officer, sergeant, lieutenant, special response team member, and leader, captain of operations and staff services, and chief of police.

Leon has worked in, led, and supervised the patrol division, the investigative division, the special response team, internal affairs, recruitment, training, accreditation, dispatch, and administrative civilian support services. Throughout his career, he handled assignments that involved significant crime scenes, critical incidents, emergency operations centers, investigations, and significant public events, including protests, complex personnel matters, labor agreement negotiations, officer training, community engagement, budgeting, planning, and public speaking.

As chief of police for almost ten years, Leon implemented many initiatives, including: 1) Embracing the President's Task Force Report's six pillars on 21st Century Policing. (2) Forming and leading a Steering Committee and creating a five-year strategic plan. (3) Enhancing community engagement through various initiatives, building trust, and creating transparency. (4) Leading a nationally (CALEA) accredited agency. (5) Adopting cutting-edge de-escalation and use of force initiatives. (6) Embracing innovative behavioral health initiatives for response and mitigation included creating a town-wide Director of Behavioral Health. (7) Driving shared leadership initiatives that empowered all department members. (8) Building a diverse, skilled, and community service-oriented department that served a very engaged community, and (9) Overseeing a complex missing person/murder investigation that garnered attention from the national news media.

Currently, he is the first-ever director of security for the Darien, Connecticut Public Schools, overseeing all safety and security for the school district. The district employs both armed and unarmed school security officers who serve approximately 5000 students and more than 700 employees. In this role, Leon has implemented many technological, best practices, and training initiatives that have enhanced safety for all seven of the district’s schools. Under his leadership, the school district is on track to become the first CALEA-accredited public K-12 campus security department in the nation.

In addition, Leon is a Special Police Officer with the Greenwich, Connecticut Police Department. In this primarily volunteer role, he supports the department by working on certain holidays and special events. Moreover, he is a Connecticutcertified police instructor, and he is certified to teach constitutional law, laws of arrest, laws of evidence, use of force, search and seizure, civil liability, criminal law, immigration law, and landlord-tenant law. He instructs both entry-level officers and veteran officers.

While working full-time, Leon earned a bachelor’s degree, an M.B.A., and a law degree, completed an executive education course at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and began coursework toward a Ph.D. He has been a practicing attorney for over twenty years. He is admitted to practice law in the States of Connecticut and New York, Connecticut Federal Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the United States Tax Court. He is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

Leon is an honorably discharged Marine Corps Combat Veteran who served on reserve duty, active duty, and deployed overseas. He has served on many community boards and received awards for his police and military service. He has three children and has been married for nearly twenty-eight years.

Shumeane Benford - Interview on Thursday May 9th @ 9:00 AM

Shumeane Benford is a veteran Police Officer, Emergency Manager and Adjunct Professor with over 30 cumulative years of law enforcement, Emergency Management and teaching experience.

Shumeane has held positions as a field Officer, Academy Instructor, Recruit Investigator and the Office of the Police Commissioner. In addition to serving as the Chief of Emergency Management, I also have been dually serving as the Chief of the Boston Housing Authority Police Department for the past 3+ years, where I am leading reform efforts in fiscal accountability, department stabilization and growth, operational enhancements, and instituting best practices in policing to include community-driven and equitable practices. I am a lifelong resident of the City of Boston save for a brief period where I lived with my family in the City of Somerville.

I received my Master’s Degree from Suffolk University and a BA from Curry College. I have completed Harvard University’s, National Preparedness Leadership Institute, The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF),Senior Management Institute for Police, FBI LEEDA-Trilogy, Roger Williams University-Command Training- Executive Development Course and am currently enrolled in the Naval Post Graduate-Center for Homeland Security and Defense-Executive Leaders Program (Anticipated completion July 2024). I currently live in Dorchester with my family and enjoy traveling and family-centered events. Providing opportunities for the next generation of professionals and leaders, ideating on creative ways to give back and increasing transparency, accountability and developing pathways for having the difficult conversations that lead to tolerance and understanding are sustaining personal and professional passions.

Updates & Resources

News Releases 



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