Tom Bonfield

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.

Durham City Council hears recommendations from City Manager on how to improve police and community relations (photo of city council).
Jorge Valencia

  The Durham Police Department has been accused of racial profiling, which led the Human Relations Commission to recommend changes in policy and procedure in May.