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Durham Police Chief's Future in Question

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

Chief McNeil could not be reached for comment and was not at the policedepartment Monday morning, but published reports over the weekend hintedthat 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, tostart a task force that would look into Durham's high crime rate. Now,talks of early retirement have some in the department wondering what willhappen at the top level of management.

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

An independent management assessment of the police department wassexpected to have been completed this week, but officials now say it won'tbe finished until mid-February

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

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released last week andshowed some problems within the department, including unhappy officers,some racial tension and out-of-date equipment.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

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

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