Local News

New Durham Chief Outlines Vision Of Community Policing

Posted August 6, 2002 3:35 a.m. EDT

— Durham's new police chief Gregory Watkins met with the media as well as fellow officers on Tuesday. He said there are two key components to policing: community and communication.

Watkins, a 30-year veteran of the Kansas City, Mo. Police Department, will take over the helm of the Durham Police Department. On Tuesday, officers got to meet and greet the new chief.

"We must move the Durham Police Department through the 21st century with cutting-edge technology and equipment to abate crime," he said.

Watkins said people can expect to see aggressive tactics such as police raids, a higher clearance rate for crimes and more communication with the community.

"I believe the community is our eyes and ears and officers must go to the community for answers," he said.

Interim Police Chief Steve Chalmers, who was also under consideration for the job, said Watkins has his full support.

"I think it is an exciting time. It's a new chapter and we are looking forward to moving forward," Chalmers said.

Watkins said he plans to take a holistic approach to policing in the Bull City. He said community policing is his passion.

"It is my greatest hope that all of our efforts to address criminal activity will engender a collaborative spirit within the community and enhance crime-fighting efforts," Watkins said. "I believe in order to accomplish this task, we must lose sight of ourselves and be guided by a willingness to do what we know is right."

Watkins said he plans to meet with officers and residents in Durham before starting new policies and programs. However, he said he plans to visit several National Night Out events in the city.