Local News

Raleigh police chief says retirement comes at 'right time'

Posted September 26, 2012

— With his retirement date less than a week away, Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said Wednesday that he’s ending a 32-year career in law enforcement at the “right time” for the Raleigh Police Department.

“These people are ready,” Dolan said of other Raleigh police leaders. “When you see the talent here and commitment to training, I think they will do extraordinarily well.”

Dolan, 54, announced his plans to retire in August after serving as Raleigh’s top cop for five years.

“I talked to (Raleigh City Manager) Russell Allen several months ago,” Dolan said. “I had early on considered a five-year commitment. I’m going to miss the blue-and-white police car, the every day. I’m the second-grader who always wanted to be a police officer, and I got to do that.”

In an August memo announcing his intentions to step aside, Dolan praised the “pride and professionalism” of department staff, retirees and alumni, saying those traits set the department apart.

“Raleigh PD has never been about the bricks and mortar, it’s been about training, hiring and retaining great people,” Dolan said Wednesday.

Dolan replaced former Chief Jane Perlov in September 2007, arriving in Raleigh after serving 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.

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan Web-only: Raleigh police Chief Dolan on retiring

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.

“Five years ago, we had close to 100 vacancies, and without the ability to add new positions, the net loss in the field was quite significant,” he said. “We filled the vacancies, and now our recruiters have become more like talent scouts.”

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

In July, he came under fire for a change to how the department evaluates employees and for the expense of a training trip for police lieutenants.

In July 2011, 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.

“Criticism is part of my job,” Dolan said. “I’ve never had an extended period of time where there wasn’t stress. Having to implement challenging things is part and parcel to the position.”

Although he said Wednesday he doesn’t have concrete plans for his retirement, Dolan says he wants to train police officers.


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  • crustyhalo Sep 27, 2012

    coolbreeze , the only criminals a chief deals with are the ones at City Hall

  • gorgon01 Sep 26, 2012


    Dolan hasn't spent 32 years dealing with criminals....more like 5 years. After that he had cushy desk job after cushy desk job. He is so out of touch and has no clue about being a cop

  • weasel2 Sep 26, 2012

    Right time five years to late.

  • baldchip Sep 26, 2012

    God bless you chief. Enjoy your retirement. You've earned it!!

  • 68_dodge_polara Sep 26, 2012

    "All he has to do is work 5 years to receive it."
    Thank you Bigdog.

    and this is what I have a problem with as a North Carolina tax payer.

  • DukeFan23 Sep 26, 2012

    @ 68_dodge_polara

    He get's a retirement check from Michigan and North Carolina. All he has to do is work 5 years to receive it.

  • LocalYokel Sep 26, 2012

    The Raleigh crime rate drop had absolutely nothing to do with Chief Dolan. Unfortunately for Raleigh, Dolan's retirement comes 5 years too late.

  • 68_dodge_polara Sep 26, 2012

    He has worked here for 5 years so who's paying his pension Michigan or us?

  • Coolbreeze Sep 26, 2012

    Happy Retirement Chief Dolan.........Anybody that can deal with criminals for 32 years and still be sane deserves a happy retirement.