Jose Lopez

Deputy Chief Cerelyn Davis with the Atlanta Police Department and Major Michael Smathers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police
Deputy Chief Cerelyn J. Davis, Atlanta Police Department/Maj. Michael J. Smathers, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

After a months-long search, the city of Durham is getting closer to choosing its next police chief. The city manager has announced two finalists: Deputy Chief Cerelyn Davis with the Atlanta Police Department and Major Michael Smathers of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police.

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez speaks to a group of concerned citizens during a community meeting in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 18, 2008.
AP Photo/Gerry Broome / ASSOCIATED PRESS

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.

Jose Lopez, Durham Police Department
Durham Police Department

Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez will retire at the end of 2015, the city announced Tuesday. The department has come under fire in recent years, especially after 17-year-old Latino Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound while in police custody in 2013.

"The last two years have been difficult for law enforcement, but together we have weathered it in a manner in which we can all be proud," Lopez wrote in a letter to his department.