Local News

Panel to Examine Durham Police Problems

Posted Updated

DURHAM — July 20, 1996, 8:43 a.m. EDT

With problems mounting in the Durham Police Department, City Manager Orville Powell says he will form a committee to look into the dissension. That's a reversal of a January decision, when he felt such a panel wasn't needed. But a lot has happened since then.

Most notably, Police Chief Jackie McNeil suspended one of his harshest critics on Wednesday. Capt. Paul Martin said he may sue to be reinstated. McNeil said he suspended Martin for insubordination and public criticism of the department.

A change McNeil made in work schedules exasperated many of Durham's police officers. Meanwhile, some have filed suit alleging that McNeil was permitting sexual harassment to go unchecked, punishing those who complained about it.

The proposed panel would have nine to 12 members. In January, Powell had said he thought such a panel could cause more trouble than it would solve

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