Local News

Raleigh's New Police Chief Should Have Urban Experience

Posted May 10, 2007 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2007 6:32 p.m. EDT

— Among the qualities Raleigh's new police chief should possess is experience working in urban areas.

"When I was looking for a chief some 5 1/2 , 6 years ago, I realized -- as most people do -- that Raleigh is changing. It's becoming much more urban," said City Manager Russell Allen.

Allen has advertised nationally for former police Chief Jane Perlov's replacement and has solicited feedback from the community, as well as police officers, about qualities a new chief should possess.

"Hopefully, there will be a standout candidate," Allen said. "That's the goal."

The decision is ultimately his to make, but many say finding a police chief for a growing city with growing challenges won't be easy.

"It's always difficult to come in after someone who's been very successful," said City Councilwoman Jesse Taliaferro, who serves on the city's Public Safety Committee.

Perlov, who resigned in March to head security for Bank of America, is credited with reducing violent crime in the city by more than 30 percent. She also decentralized the police department into six districts and focused on crime prevention.

That's something many people say the new police chief should focus on as well.

Before Perlov, the city saw more than 18,000 major crimes such as rape, assault and murder in 1999 and more than 19,000 in 2000. By 2006, at the end of Perlov's tenure, that number dropped to 14,877.

Greg Hatem, co-chairman of the Southeast Raleigh Assembly, says because of Perlov, the image of that community, and others, have changed for the better. And that's why choosing the right replacement is so important.

He said it is important that the city does not move backward with the new chief.

"There's a lot of great progress that's been made," Hatem said. "We just need to move forward with that."

About 35 candidates have applied. Allen will work to identify top candidates and hold sessions where the public can ask questions. Allen said a final decision could be possible in early July.