Local News

Durham Residents Meet Police Chief Candidates

Posted December 7, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— To many people, Durham is a city known for high crime and poor police involvement in the community. Former police chief Jackie McNeill retired in July amid a storm of controversy, a troubled department and poor morale and, since that time, the city has been looking for someone who might lead the police department with confidence, generate trust and community involvement, and fight a rising crime rate.

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

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

The special citizens' assessment gives residents an opportunity to express 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 the police department and improve community relations.

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

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

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

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

Photographer:Ron Pittman