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2 Triangle Police Chiefs Start Work Today

Posted September 3, 2007
Updated September 4, 2007

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— New police chiefs took the helm in both Raleigh and Durham on Tuesday, while Chapel Hill continues its search for a new chief.

Officials from both cities said the new top cops will face the challenges of big-city crime and running departments with hundreds of employees and multimillion-dollar budgets.

Harry Patrick Dolan returns to Raleigh after a nine-year stay in Grand Rapids, Mich., as that city's police chief.

"It really is a big job." Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said of Dolan's new position. "There are over 700, almost 800 sworn personnel, 100 administrative staff. It really is like being CEO of a big staff, something of that nature."

Dolan replaces Jane Perlov, who left in March to become the head of security for Bank of America in Charlotte.

"My desire would be that he comes in and tweaks the things that might need tweaking, but really just continues to do the things that Chief Perlov started that the rank-and-file have really bought into," Raleigh Councilman Philip Isley said.

Among Perlov's initiatives were a strong district policing system and using computer technology to track crimes, Isley said.

In early August, Dolan told WRAL that his immediate challenge will be to manage problems associated with Raleigh's growth and that he plans to meet with community and city leaders to formulate a strategic plan for the city's future policing.

Dolan will be working with acting chief Ken Sholar, the other finalist for the top job. Sholar will continue to serve as the department's deputy chief.

Dolan, a North Carolina native, has spent 18 of 27 years in law enforcement in the state, including five with the Raleigh Police Department from 1982 to 1987. Before that, he served as police chief in Lumberton and as police chief for the North Carolina Department of Human Resources Police Department in Black Mountain.

Jose Lopez Sr. comes to Durham from Hartford, Conn., where he worked his way up the ranks to assistant police chief over more than 22 years.

Durham City Manager Patrick Baker said Lopez's first objective will be to help move the police department past its flawed investigation into the Duke University lacrosse team sexual assault case.

Lopez will also concentrate on improving the department's clearance rate on overall crime.

"That particular case, fortunately, is solved. The young men were found not to have committed any crime," Baker said. "But, certainly, the challenges that we have in Durham here are real, and we want to make sure that we're on top of those."

Announcing Lopez's hiring about two months ago, Baker said the hiring committee was impressed by Lopez's commitment to community policing and his reputation for being out on the streets with the cops and community.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native also worked as an investigator with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and served as a law enforcement specialist in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1980.

Lopez replaces Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers, who is retiring.

Chapel Hill town leaders are considering 40 applicants to be the town's next police chief.

The town re-opened its application process in late June after former Fayetteville Police Chief Tom McCarthy had to decline the job for health reasons.

Former Chief Gregg Jarvies retired in April after 30 years with the department.


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  • floyd_lawson Sep 4, 2007

    Good Luck to both!!!

  • shine Sep 4, 2007

    Good Luck to both.

  • Duke 79 Sep 4, 2007

    "Lopez replaces Durham Police Chief........." - thank goodness!

  • K9Tucker.LoveMYcop Sep 4, 2007

    Good Luck to Both!!!

  • mythoughts22 Sep 4, 2007

    Good Luck to both these men! durham is a dangerous city but most places are not safe anymore just hope and pray this man cracks down on the criminals and improves the city

  • Harrison Bergeron Sep 4, 2007

    Oh, come on Darius. There are 41 other cities in the US that have a higher murder rate. The good news is that there is an easy way to tell which ones they are.

  • gopanthers Sep 4, 2007

    I wish and hope for the best for both new Police Chiefs. Time will tell.

  • kstor33 Sep 4, 2007

    Mayor Meeker, please check your figures again...728 sworn officers is a far cry from almost "800 sworn officers", not to mention the problem of a large number of vacancies. By the way, welcome back Chief Dolan.

  • parr4246 Sep 4, 2007

    Best of Luck to both of the new "top cops"...............!!
    They will certainly be under the microscope for a while.....

  • Bon Viveur Sep 4, 2007

    Well, all i can say is good luck to that poor man faced with having to deal with Durham NC of all places. With Durham being the Murder Capital of NC he really is going to have his hands full. I seriously doubt the job was his first choice. In fact, he probably would have taken a security post in Iraq if one had been available as opposed to living in Durham. After all at least in Iraq there is a " green zone" of relative safety. In Durham, its every man for himself and you can be shot or mugged all over town.