New era for the Durham Police Department begins

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Durham Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis sworn into office Monday morning (WTVD)

New Durham Police Chief Cerelyn "CJ" Davis has been officially sworn into office.

The new era for the Durham Police Department began Monday morning with a quick, private ceremonial swearing-in before Davis started her first day as chief.

Chief Davis did speak briefly to Durham officers and staff in the room, praising the "men and women who are faithful and dedicated to this city, so that we can take the department to the next level."

A public ceremony will take place on Friday at 6 p.m. at The Carolina Theater.

Davis, who comes from the Atlanta Police Department, faces some challenges as she assumes command.

"There's some training she's got to do, to get certified," Interim Durham Police Chief Larry Smith said. "It's going to take some time to learn this community."

"Especially the violent crime issue is going to be (faced by) the new chief," he added. "We've had some challenges with some public trust in certain communities."

"I have taken time on my own to drive the streets of Durham without an escort, in some of those areas that I've heard about, so that I could see for myself as a citizen what the citizens are experiencing," Davis said back in April while meeting the press following the announcement of her appointment.


Smith said while Davis will get an assist now from officers who know how to get around Durham's neighborhoods, "Everybody's going to want to meet with her, everybody's going to want to talk to her, but she has to pace herself."

The man responsible for resident safety in Durham's public housing says Davis' arrival is part of a Triangle trend - police chiefs who are black women.

"You look at Morrisville," Charles Lyons said. "We just lost a great one out of Durham, in Captain Andrews. You look at Raleigh, one over in Raleigh. You have a young lady at Central. You look at this chief. I think it's time for a change, and I think she can make a difference."

Monday was first day on the job for Patrice Andrews, the Town of Morrisville's new police chief.

Before she was named police chief earlier this year, Andrews served as the commander in the Criminal Investigations Division at the Durham Police Department.

RELATED STORY: Ex-Durham PD commander starts job as Morrisville police chief
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Former Durham law officer Patrice Andrews is on the job as Morrisville's top cop.

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