Durham residents tell city what they want in a police chief

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Durham is on the hunt for a new police chief and the City of Durham wants public input.

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Monday night was the first of two public forums being held for community input. It was held at 6 p.m. in the auditorium at the Holton Career and Resource Center on Driver Street.

Only about 35 people attended, which angered some who were there as they urged fellow residents to make sure their voices are heard as the process to finding a new leader for the Durham Police Department continues.

The City of Durham has hired an outside agency, Developmental Associates, LLC, to help with the search. There were members from that agency in the room as well as several city council members.

At the start of the forum, residents were handed a questionnaire. Some of the questions include:

  • What do you consider the most important public safety issues in Durham?

  • To what extent are you satisfied with the relationship between the police and the Durham community?

  • What leadership qualities should Durham's new police chief possess?

  • What type of experience should the new police chief have?

  • People then took turns at the microphone to say they want a chief that will be invested in the community and knows how to represent a diverse community.

    They also expressed concern about the use of force and even asked for more officers on the streets.

    These are just a few of the many factors city leaders said they will take into account as this lengthy process continues.

    "I think people came tonight with lots of really good ideas about what they wanted to see in a chief. It's a really important hire, we need a chief that's going to serve Durham really well in all of its diversity and all of its challenges," said City Councilman Steve Schewel.

    There is a second forum planned for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at Centro Hispano.

    Residents who can't attend either meeting, but still wish to provide feedback, are encouraged to visit a website created by the City's search agency to collect resident and stakeholder input.

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