Local News

Raleigh police Harry Dolan says he's retiring

Posted August 15, 2012

— Raleigh's top cop of five years announced Wednesday that he plans to retire effective Oct. 1, making way for the city's first black female officer to run the police department until a permanent replacement is named.

In a memo to police department staff, retirees and alumni, Police Chief Harry Dolan praised the "pride and professionalism" that he says set the department apart.

"I say without reservation that this is truly the finest major metropolitan police department in the nation," he wrote.

Dolan, 54, has been in law enforcement for 32 years and recently became eligible for retirement. In his letter Wednesday, he gave no indication about his next move.

He replaced former Chief Jane Perlov in September 2007, arriving in Raleigh having served nine years as the police chief for the Grand Rapids Police Department in Michigan. Dolan's career includes a stint as a Raleigh officer for five years, from 1982 to 1987, and roles with the North Carolina Department of Human Resources Police Department in Black Mountain and as chief of the Lumberton Police Department.

During Dolan's tenure as chief, Raleigh's crime rate dropped from 4,300 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2007 to 3,781 crimes per 100,000 people last year – a decrease larger than the statewide trend.

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen praised Dolan as an "exceptional leader" who made Raleigh safer with his hallmark community-policing initiative.

Allen called the retirement a loss for the city.

“His high level of technical and strategic law enforcement skills are matched by his unwavering ethical standards, commitment to the community, pride in the department’s employees and enthusiasm for police work," Allen said.

Raleigh's police chief to retire Raleigh's police chief to retire

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said in a statement that Dolan's community policing initiative and emphasis on officer training has helped the police department build and preserve its reputation as one of the nation's best police departments.

"I am hopeful that our next police chief exemplifies similar qualities in leadership and strategic thinking that will help move the RPD forward in the 21st Century," she said.

Deputy Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown will serve as interim chief while the department considers a long-term replacement, Allen said.

Deck-Brown joined the Raleigh Police Department in 1987 and worked her way up the ranks as a detective in 1994, sergeant in 1997, lieutenant in 2002, captain in 2003 and major in 2006, when she assumed leadership of the police department's Administrative Services Division.

She was promoted to deputy chief in June 2011, after temporarily commanding daily operations of the department's Internal Affairs Unit and several other operations.

In the memo announcing his retirement, Dolan emphasized the positive, but his tenure was not without turmoil.

Over the past month, he has come under fire for a change to how the department evaluates employees and for the expense of a training trip for police lieutenants.

A year ago, Dolan fired Sgt. Rick Armstrong, who was president of the Raleigh Police Protective Association, on allegations he had sex while on duty. Armstrong denied the accusation and filed suit against the city and Dolan to get his job back. That suit is still pending.

"That just happens (criticism) in the nature of the business. There's always going to be criticism from some corner about something that's related to police," Allen said. "But I know, in this case, it has nothing to do with his retirement."

The RPPA's current president, Eric DeSimone, released a statement Wednesday afternoon congratulating Dolan.

"We have not always agreed with Chief Dolan's policies, but we have always respected his position as chief of police for the city of Raleigh," DeSimone said.

"In his endeavor to replace Chief Dolan, we encourage and implore our city manager, Russell Allen, to seriously consider our next chief's ability to maintain a positive working relationship with the Teamsters Union and the Raleigh Police Protective Association," he added.

86 Comments

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  • ronnyg0447 Aug 16, 4:17 p.m.

    jbigbird3 --- To the police bashers -- you can't do the job so you bash the poeple who are trying. Did not always agree with Chief Dolan but he was good guy that tried. The City needs to go outside the department for the next Chief. Yes there have been some problems but Chief Dolan is vested so he will get his retirement. To the Union members, you became a Police Officer to serve and protect not to go on strike or make Union bosses rich. There is no place in public service for unions.

    Well Said. I continue to support the RPD and soon-to-be ex-chief. I think he's done a fine job. People who aren't satisfied w/ their own lives try to get satisfaction from bashing others who keep pushing. I hope the chief has a very plesant and well deserved retirement. And you're so correct. Unions have NO place in public service. Not now. Not ever

  • jbigbird3 Aug 16, 1:59 p.m.

    To the police bashers -- you can't do the job so you bash the poeple who are trying.
    Did not always agree with Chief Dolan but he was good guy that tried. The City needs to go outside the department for the next Chief. Yes there have been some problems but Chief Dolan is vested so he will get his retirement. To the Union members, you became a Police Officer to serve and protect not to go on strike or make Union bosses rich. There is no place in public service for unions.

  • beachinit Aug 16, 1:24 p.m.

    "Don't you wish you could retire at 54? I'll be lucky to retire at 74 because I'm not on the taxpayers gravy train."

    I'd wager that you don't go to work everyday with a bulletproof vest on and endure near the stress that law enforcement does. They should have 20 year retirement in NC for law enforcement, not 30.

  • one mean woman Aug 16, 12:26 p.m.

    Cheif Harry Dolan has been nothing but good to my husband and I our only child was killed in the line of duty in 2002.But people have not been very nice to him.He has always made sure the fallen officers were not forgotten. Cheif hope you enjoy your retirement, because deserve it. mother of a fallen officer

  • knockitoff Aug 16, 9:08 a.m.

    Happy Retirement Cheif Dolan
    Surely no one one here (the WRAL board) can step up and replace you. Lots of "opinions" but NONE of them can do the job or they'd be in your shoes DOING it!
    Enjoy your retirement!!!

  • Bartmeister Aug 16, 8:42 a.m.

    Sure sounds like he was "asked" to retire. Too much negative press lately in this position makes city officials nervous.

  • thinkin out loud Aug 16, 8:20 a.m.

    I have to congratulate anyone that has managed to stay 32 years putting up with the public. Cops are societies babysitters because too many don't know how to act right, don't know how to raise their own kids or are simply just evil people.

  • common_sense_plz Aug 15, 7:20 p.m.

    It would appear that he was given the choice of being fired or retiring.

  • EZeegoing Aug 15, 7:12 p.m.

    If he can't take the heat he needs to get out of the kitchen.

  • doobedobedoodoo Aug 15, 6:27 p.m.

    The worst thing about this is that the alleged "union" (not a union in this right-to-work state) will think they actually had something to do with it. Pretty soon 'da Union bosses' will stop giggling like little school girls and be whining as per usual.....right, Charles, "Chucky-cheese"?? ...with that whine??

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