Local News

2 Triangle Police Chiefs Start Work Today

Posted September 3, 2007 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2007 10:24 a.m. EDT

— New police chiefs took the helm in both Raleigh and Durham on Tuesday, while Chapel Hill continues its search for a new chief.

Officials from both cities said the new top cops will face the challenges of big-city crime and running departments with hundreds of employees and multimillion-dollar budgets.

Harry Patrick Dolan returns to Raleigh after a nine-year stay in Grand Rapids, Mich., as that city's police chief.

"It really is a big job." Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said of Dolan's new position. "There are over 700, almost 800 sworn personnel, 100 administrative staff. It really is like being CEO of a big staff, something of that nature."

Dolan replaces Jane Perlov, who left in March to become the head of security for Bank of America in Charlotte.

"My desire would be that he comes in and tweaks the things that might need tweaking, but really just continues to do the things that Chief Perlov started that the rank-and-file have really bought into," Raleigh Councilman Philip Isley said.

Among Perlov's initiatives were a strong district policing system and using computer technology to track crimes, Isley said.

In early August, Dolan told WRAL that his immediate challenge will be to manage problems associated with Raleigh's growth and that he plans to meet with community and city leaders to formulate a strategic plan for the city's future policing.

Dolan will be working with acting chief Ken Sholar, the other finalist for the top job. Sholar will continue to serve as the department's deputy chief.

Dolan, a North Carolina native, has spent 18 of 27 years in law enforcement in the state, including five with the Raleigh Police Department from 1982 to 1987. Before that, he served as police chief in Lumberton and as police chief for the North Carolina Department of Human Resources Police Department in Black Mountain.

Jose Lopez Sr. comes to Durham from Hartford, Conn., where he worked his way up the ranks to assistant police chief over more than 22 years.

Durham City Manager Patrick Baker said Lopez's first objective will be to help move the police department past its flawed investigation into the Duke University lacrosse team sexual assault case.

Lopez will also concentrate on improving the department's clearance rate on overall crime.

"That particular case, fortunately, is solved. The young men were found not to have committed any crime," Baker said. "But, certainly, the challenges that we have in Durham here are real, and we want to make sure that we're on top of those."

Announcing Lopez's hiring about two months ago, Baker said the hiring committee was impressed by Lopez's commitment to community policing and his reputation for being out on the streets with the cops and community.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native also worked as an investigator with the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety and served as a law enforcement specialist in the U.S. Air Force, receiving an honorable discharge in 1980.

Lopez replaces Durham Police Chief Steve Chalmers, who is retiring.

Chapel Hill town leaders are considering 40 applicants to be the town's next police chief.

The town re-opened its application process in late June after former Fayetteville Police Chief Tom McCarthy had to decline the job for health reasons.

Former Chief Gregg Jarvies retired in April after 30 years with the department.