Watkins, 56, a retired deputy chief from Kansas City, Mo., was named Durham's new police chief Monday at a press conference at City Hall.
"There is a saying that nothing good comes easy. Let me tell you, this is one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make," City Manager Marcia Conner said.
Conner said Watkins, a 30-year police veteran, will focus on community policing.
"He has faced a lot of the same challenges that we face in Durham, and he has shown leadership and vision in handling these situations," Conner said.
Bill Carcara, 50, chief of the Jefferson County Police Department in Louisville, Ky., was also in the running for the position.
Durham's acting chief, Steve Chalmers, was taken out of the job process Friday.The move was due to his answers to questions about a domestic incident with his ex-wife in the 1980's and a home foreclosure.
The Bull City had been without a permanent chief since January, when Teresa Chambers left the post to head the park police department in Washington, D.C.
The search for a new chief has been described as too long by many Durham residents; however, the search that ended with the hiring of Chambers in December 1997 took even longer at eight months.
Watkins is expected to start on his new job Sept. 2. He is expected to make $102,000.
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