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Durham Residents Meet Police Chief Candidates

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DURHAM — To many people, Durham is a city known for highcrime and poor police involvement in the community. Former police chiefJackie McNeill retired in July amid a storm of controversy, a troubleddepartment and poor morale and, since that time, the city has been lookingfor someone who might lead the police department with confidence, generatetrust and community involvement, and fight a rising crime rate.

The city has narrowed its search and, Saturday, citizens got a chanceto meet five finalists for the position.

Candidates interested in becoming Durham's next chief met face toface with some citizens of the Bull City. Candidates expressed theirphilosophies of law enforcement. Robert Crump White says modern lawenforcement takes a great deal of knowledge.

The special citizens' assessment gives residents an opportunity toexpress what they like or don't like about each of the five candidates.Many residents have strong opinions on what it would take to lead thepolice department and improve community relations.

Deborah Giles lives in Durham. She says a sense of fairness andconfidence are two important characteristics.

Chris Tiffany lives in a low-income neighborhood, and says he never hadtrouble with police until he moved to Durham.

City Manager, P. Lamont Ewell says citizen input is essential to thedecision-making process. He wants citizens to have an opportunity tomeet the candidates and provide their impressions of them.

Ewell is expected to make a decision on thenew police chief this month.

Photographer:Ron Pittman