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Fayetteville's new police chief: Police work is a people business

Posted February 14, 2013

— Fayetteville's incoming police chief says one of his first objectives will be to build a relationship with the people.

"I don't think you can have any level of trust without having some sort of personal relationship with people," Harold Medlock said Thursday. "This is a people business, and all we bring to the table, as cops, are our people skills and abilities."

Medlock, a former deputy police chief for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, was hired last month to replace former Chief Tom Bergamine, who retired last summer.

The department has for month been embroiled in controversy after complaints that officers were unfairly stopping black drivers.

Some in the community say the police force needs to restore trust. Others say they don't feel comfortable with police.

Although Medlock says he's not sure yet if he thinks the police department suffers from an image problem, he says strong community relations are critical.

"It hurts me, as a police officer, when folks say they are afraid to call the cops," Medlock said. "We're the ones that folks should always feel comfortable calling. There's nobody else to call."

Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock Web-only: Fayetteville police chief Harold Medlock

Medlock says he also believes it is important for police to be able to tell people as much as they possibly can about what's going on when they see blue lights in their neighborhood.

"I think it's incumbent on us to provide some level of information to them," he said, "so that the community does feel comfortable in knowing that we're there and we're in control."

"It may not be what folks want to hear, but folks deserve to hear the story," he said.

Medlock begins his job Monday and says that, over the first couple of weeks, he plans to meet with every member of his department through committee events and engagements.

At 55, he says, the position is the capstone of his career.

"This job, this city, this police department is the highlight of my career," he said.

8 Comments

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  • davidccouper Feb 18, 9:28 a.m.

    Do you know how to rate your local police department? Find out how and more about improving police at http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com.

  • Relic Feb 15, 5:27 p.m.

    The "people" don't want a relationship with the cops.

    I think what he was saying is that "law abiding citizens" want a relationship with the cops where they trust them enough to call them when they see something. Better?

    Medlock is not a politician. Medlock doesn't have anyone in Fayetteville that he "owes" anything to other than the City Manager that hired him. So it's not the same "script".

    So what's he supposed to say? "Whether you like us or don't like us learn to live with us 'cause we're the best thing going today! WHOOOOOOO..." No...wait...that's Ric Flair.

  • working for deadbeats Feb 15, 3:57 p.m.

    News flash! The "people" don't want a relationship with the cops. I love politician type chiefs. They are just so cute!

  • keishamcclenny Feb 15, 2:55 p.m.

    THE MAIN THING IS FOR HIM TO GET TO KNOW THE POLICE DEPT AND THE WORKERS. SO HE WOULD KNOW WHO IS THE DIRTY COPS AGAINST THE GOOD COPS.. THATS WHAT HE SHOULD DO. THERE ARE MANY DIRTY COPS OUT HERE AND VERY SNEAKY WITH THERE WORK. THEY EXPECT THE PUBLIC TODO THERE JOB FOR THEM INSTEAD OF THEM DOING IT... I THINK THE POLICE DEPT NEEDS ALL NEW DETECTIVES AND COPS..( MOST COPS)..JUST SAYING!!

  • subanitov Feb 15, 1:27 p.m.

    "Different actor, same script, same sad ending." kermit60

    Perhaps you should've applied and been selected. We can at least give the guy time enough to get a cup of coffee before saying he's a failure.

  • That Explains It Feb 15, 11:04 a.m.

    So, let me get this straight. Police work is people work? And people work is pickle work? So then pickle work must be people work, so how then does police work work?

  • kermit60 Feb 15, 10:28 a.m.

    Different actor, same script, same sad ending.

  • Sherlock Feb 15, 8:42 a.m.

    Good luck