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Tasks for Raleigh's Next Top Cop: Gangs, Growth, Drugs and Visibility

Posted July 25, 2007
Updated August 23, 2007

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— Gangs, drugs and growth: The ability to deal with these issues is among the qualities that Raleigh residents said they want in the city's new police chief.

The city sent out questionnaires asking the public for input on the top two finalists for the job and received around 300 responses.

Themes emerged among those responses: Along with being able to handle gangs, drugs and growth, the city's next top cop should communicate effectively and be in touch with the community.

The two candidates competing for the job are Samuel Kent Sholar, 46, Raleigh's acting chief, and Harry Patrick Dolan, 49, chief of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Police Department.

"The one thing that always comes across is they want a chief that's accessible," City Manager Russell Allen said of the responses.

Eugene Weeks, the head of his neighborhood's community watch program, said that gangs and drugs are a problem in Raleigh, but agreed that visibility would increase the police chief's ability to fight crime.

"If you hide behind the shield and you're never seen, then this is when you have a problem with crime rising," said Weeks.

James Smith, owner of Southgate Plaza Barber Shop, said that he would like to see the next police chief continue placing substations throughout the city.

Smith credited substations, such as the one next to his shop, with helping to reduce crime during the 20 years he has done business in Raleigh.

"He needs to be familiar with the city of Raleigh," said Smith.

Former Chief Jane Perlov is credited with reducing violent crime by more than 30 percent. She also decentralized the police department into six districts and focused on crime prevention.

The public can meet the two finalists at a forum from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday in the City Council chambers, 222 W. Hargett St.

The candidates will give presentations, and then Allen will ask them eight to 10 questions each. The candidates will have four minutes to respond to each question.

The public is being asked to give written feedback on the finalists after the forum by filling out comment cards and ranking the candidates.

Allen will ultimately decide whether Dolan or Sholar gets the job. He has given no hint when he might make that decision, but said that he values public input during the process.

"It's important for me to understand what people's expectations are of the chief law enforcement official in our community," said Allen.

Sholar is a 24-year veteran of the Raleigh Police Department, moving up the ranks from patrol officer to interim chief.

The Duplin County native holds degrees from Wake Technical Community College and North Carolina Wesleyan College and received additional training at the FBI National Academy and North Carolina State University.

Before moving to Michigan, Dolan spent 18 years in North Carolina law enforcement, serving in Raleigh and Lumberton.

The New York native holds degrees from Palm Beach Community College in Florida, Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and also attended a training program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Perlov resigned March 2 to head security for Bank of America in Charlotte.


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  • allswell Jul 26, 2007

    I keep hearing negative comments in regards to Dolan leaving Raleigh,not knowing Raleigh because he is currently in another state or questioning how long will he stay around. Am I correct in thinking Perlov was from another state and only stayed around for 5 years? I hear nothing but good things about her.

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Jul 26, 2007

    LadyJustice - If you look at a lot of the larger metro departments, no chief stays too long. They go in, make necessary changes, train other deparment heads to his/her standards, and move on. If they stay too long their effectiveness decreases. It's not that they do a bad job, it's because everyone gets in a comfort zone. Dolan is a great officer and knows how to deal with the diverse population of Raleigh, deal with the politics, and still go home with a smile on his face at the end of the day, knowing he has done the best job possible.

  • zoocrew Jul 26, 2007

    well perlov didnt reduce crime, try to tackle gangs. Sholar came in after here as an interim. Hes done the same that she did. Sholar is NOT the man you want for this job. For crying out loud i didnt know that he was even the interim chief until they mentioned his name for the finalists. What does that say about being in the public eye? The only person i ever say affiliated with rpd was sughrue the media relations guy. Dolan is the best man for the job. His moves were only to better himself throughout his career. Also the people of grand rapids have asked the city and as well as the city counsel to give dolan whatever he wants to stay. that says something people. Also if you look at the comments on here where people were from rpd most of them dont want sholar.

  • silver Jul 26, 2007

    They need to add to the list of problems the cars that play loud music you can hear a block away. If you live off of a street that has a red light or stop sign, it's just like living in a disco.

  • Lady Justice Jul 26, 2007

    It seems to me that Dolan has had too many law enforcement jobs - never settled anywhere very long. I think with his being gone from our area so long, he would have a lot of "catch up" time - both with the community and with the police organization.

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Jul 26, 2007

    Dolan would be an excellent choice for Raleigh. When Dolan was chief in Lumberton the high crime areas saw more police protection than ever and there was a trust gained in those areas that led to lower crime rates. Sub stations were put in all beats and there was always great police visiblity. Best of luck to you Harry! Raleigh.....you would benefit greatly from a man like him.

  • I-NO-BEST Jul 26, 2007

    Obviously Sholar is the best for this job. He knows the City best, has better knowledge of the problems here, and has proven he knows how to handle problems. He's not going to hold your hand - he's going to get the job done.

  • skinnycow Jul 26, 2007

    Those sound like great goals. Whomever gets the job has a lot on his hands to deal with. I am hoping for Sholar. Good luck to each of them. May the best man win.

  • rpd911 Jul 26, 2007

    Perlov didn't decrease violent crime. There was a general downward trend throughout the country that happened to occur while she was chief here in Raleigh.

  • lolly Jul 26, 2007

    They want the police to handle growth? Well, the County Commmissioners and Mayors REFUSE to get a handle on growth, sure, make the police do it.

    :D just kidding, different kind of growth...