Local News

Durham Police Chief's Future in Question

Posted January 27, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— After months of controversy, Durham's police chief may be ready to step down from the job. There have been talks between Chief Jackie McNeil (pictured at left) and Durham city management regarding an early retirement for McNeil, but no timetable has been set.

Chief McNeil could not be reached for comment and was not at the police department Monday morning, but published reports over the weekend hinted that a McNeil retirement announcement could be forthcoming this week. Officials at Durham City Hall say that report was a little premature.

Six weeks ago, McNeil shed his duties as chief, temporarily he said, to start a task force that would look into Durham's high crime rate. Now, talks of early retirement have some in the department wondering what will happen at the top level of management.

All acting City Manager Cecil Brown (pictured at right) will say is that McNeil has been to City Hall to discuss an early exit.

An independent management assessment of the police department wass expected to have been completed this week, but officials now say it won't be finished until mid-February

There is speculation that McNeil is trying to leave before that report comes out, but Brown says that's not the case.

Preliminary results from a management audit were released last week and showed some problems within the department, including unhappy officers, some racial tension and out-of-date equipment. McNeil is the target of a lawsuit filed by some former Durham police officers, charging that he intentionally overlooked racial, sexual and other personnel problems within the department.

WRAL TV5's Bret Baier will have details on today's developments on the 5:30 News.