Local News

Durham Councilors Dismayed Over Police Chief Search

Posted September 26, 2002 5:23 a.m. EDT

— Durham is still looking for a police chief and city councilors are concerned that the search is taking so long.

The city's first search for a police chief was marred with mistakes, accusations and apologies. It ended without anyone in the top spot at the Police Department.

One month ago, Durham City Manager Marcia Conner announced she was reopening the search for a police chief. She also said this time around, it would be a speedier process, but at the four-week mark, the search goes on, to the dismay of City Council members.

"Unfortunately, she has a bad habit of setting time frames she can't meet. I wish she wouldn't do that," Councilman John Best said.

On Thursday, Conner gave the City Council the first update on the latest search. The filing deadline for the position closed on Monday and the city has received more than 50 applications. Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done.

"At this time, actually the interview team for the panel has not been established," Conner said.

The first search ended after nearly eight months without a chief. Council members say the fact that the job is still vacant raises concerns.

"I believe citizens right now have a feeling of unrest and I'm worried about staff morale," City Councilwoman Cora Cole-McFadden said.

Several officers have told WRAL that they are discouraged and disappointed. They say nearly 10 months without a permanent police chief is too long.

Right now, the Police Department is being run by Steve Chalmers, the interim chief. He was one of the three finalists in the first search, but dropped out of the running after allegations of domestic violence. Chalmers chose not to apply this time around.