The candidates are Interim Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, current Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood, and Malik Aziz, who is a deputy police chief in Dallas, Texas.
Some of the candidates spoke about communication.
"In order to effectively communicate with folks in the neighborhoods you have to go to neighborhoods," said Norwood.
Gang violence was also a hot topic.
"I don't believe we can arrest our way out of crime," said Aziz.
The three finalists for Raleigh police chief told a room of about 150 residents how they would lead if hired.
"What has also continued is the growth of the community," said Deck-Brown.
As its current interim chief and a 25-year veteran of the Raleigh Police Department, Deck-Brown said she has intimate knowledge of the city's challenges, including a booming population.
"What we did not do was add personnel," said Deck-Brown, "but it did require that we become a smarter police department and more efficient police department in carrying out our day to day activities."
Forty-six-year-old Norwood said he'd lean heavily on community policing.
"I look at it as an account that we have to continually put money into and we have to continually invest in our community," said Norwood.
Aziz said he is no stranger to the process. He was recently a finalist for Fayetteville's vacancy, but he got passed over. He emphasized leadership.
"Police officers like to have a chief who gives them great direction," said Aziz. "They want to be in an environment where they don't have to guess what to do."