Local News

Raleigh Citizens, Police Officers Meet Top Cop Finalists

Posted July 26, 2007 11:16 p.m. EDT
Updated July 26, 2007 11:42 p.m. EDT

— Raleigh citizens and police officers got a chance Thursday to hear from the two final candidates for chief of police.

City Manager Russell Allen had narrowed the field of potential candidates for the city's top cop job to Kent Sholar, a 24-year veteran with the department who is the interim police chief, and Henry Patrick Dolan, chief of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Police Department.

Many of the department's 746 officers heard from both candidates at a forum Thursday at City Hall. They asked both men about their desire to lead the department, their experience and their views on communication and training.

"Raleigh is a very safe city and it's because of the work you all do every day, but I am really looking forward to the opportunity to lead this police department as we keep progressing," Sholar said.

"To have been a member of this police department as a recruit and then worked on the road and to have now come back, to be in this forum today is quite an honor," Dolan said. "To be back here in Raleigh will be an exciting opportunity for me."

The new police chief is expected to make anywhere from $93,113 to $149,223. Former Police Chief Jane Perlov, who left Raleigh to take a security position with Bank of America in Charlotte, was being paid $139,832 when she resigned.

The hiring will ultimately be up to Allen, but the officers and others got evaluation forms on which to offer feedback about the two candidates.

Nearly 100 residents packed the city council chambers Thursday night so they could also hear what the two men had to say.

“I don’t think Raleigh could lose with either candidate,” said Dennis Poteat, former Raleigh police captain.

Dolan said he thinks the greatest challenges would be breaking the race barriers, developing more effective community relations and making sure each community leader feels strongly that he or she can trust the police.

Sholar said gangs are a big issue.

“We cannot arrest our way out of an issue,” Sholar said. “It’s going to take partnership with the community.”

In the end, the crowd had their favorites.

“If you call Kent Sholar, he will call you back with the answer,” said Raleigh resident Mary Lou Smith. “He’s just been responsive to me and my neighbors who have had problems.”

Poteat said Dolan came off as the “more experienced candidate.”

“I think he shows a lot of leadership traits that Raleigh has been looking for,” Poteat said.