Durham Wants Public Input On Search For New Police Chief

Dec 14, 2015

Durham is launching a national search for a new chief of police.

City Manager Tom Bonfield asked current Chief Jose Lopez to step down after residents and City Council members reported deep dissatisfaction with the police department. The 59-year-old Lopez will retire at the end of the month.

Durham spokeswoman Beverly Thompson said it will be crucial that the new police chief be experienced and prioritize communication with the public.

"Police community relations is very important to Mr. Bonfield. He wants to see us become more engaged, more involved, and working with the community," Thomspon said.

Durham-based executive recruiting firm Development Associates will gather public comment to guide the search at meetings Monday and Tuesday.

"This is probably one of the most visible positions in the city that affects everybody's day-to-day lives, so it was important to the city manager that we get as much public input as possible," Thompson said.

  • An English-language meeting will be at 6 p.m. Monday at  Holton Career and Resource Center, 401 N Driver St, Durham
  • A Spanish-language meeting will be at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at El Centro Hispano, 600 E Main St, Durham
  • Residents can also offer feedback online through this survey.

Thompson said Tom Bonfield hopes to have a new police chief in place by May first. She said the public will likely have a chance to weigh in on the final candidates in April.