Local News

Raleigh police chief to retire

Posted December 30, 2020 2:58 p.m. EST
Updated December 30, 2020 7:09 p.m. EST

— Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown announced Wednesday that she will retire on April 1, ending her three-decade career with the Raleigh Police Department.

"It has been nothing less than an absolute honor to serve the City of Raleigh for 33-plus years," Deck-Brown said in a statement. "The capital city has always been a place of engagement – from community to politics and from education to advancement, I have seen the strength of this community that I chose to be a part of in 1987. The efforts that the Raleigh Police Department has made to bridge the gap and to make a difference are notable."

She has served as chief since February 2013.

"Chief Deck-Brown has served the City of Raleigh with integrity and professionalism for more than 30 years,” City Manager Ruffin Hall said in a statement. “She has been at the helm of the Raleigh Police Department during a period of unprecedented growth. Her attention to detail, her understanding of the importance of public safety, and her push for community policing has made our city not only safer, but better."

This past year has been filled with crises for the department, from the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the riots that grew out of protests against police brutality elsewhere. But Deck-Brown was adamant during a news conference that she isn't leaving because of stress or in the midst of crisis, saying that she feels it’s the right time to pass the baton to the next generation of leaders in the department.

"This year, while it should be a defining moment, I do believe that, it should not define who we are," she said. "What it should do is allow us to all look inside ourselves and see how we can be better people, better police officers, better communities, and build those bridges and work towards healing each other."

Deck-Brown said she is very proud of how her officers have weathered 2020, and she said she hopes her legacy will be that she improved community engagement, including faith leaders, social workers and mental health experts, and officer training, among other things.

"To see the evolution growth and change, I’m honored to have been in the seat and been able to steer the ship," she said. "Sometimes there have been very rough waters, but I didn’t run then, and I’m not running now."

Deck-Brown said there’s never been a better time to be a police officer, and whoever succeeds her as Raleigh's police chief should be someone who is progressive and embraces change.

"Things are going to change, and we are seeing those changes," she said. "I’ve changed policies, I’ve change procedures, and here is that time to want to be a part of that journey and make a difference in what tomorrow’s policing looks like. Any chief ... coming into this position has to think about change and growth and what progressive movement looks like."

City officials didn't mention a timeline for selecting a new chief. Incoming City Manager Marcell Adams-David, who takes office on Friday, will head up that effort.

Deck-Brown said she has no specific plans for what is next for her, but she said that, because of the intensity of the job, she will need time to decompress.