She opens up about how she chose the profession, what she does when she's not in uniform, and what her top priorities are as the city's new top cop.
Chief Stella Patterson says regaining the public's trust is high on her wish list, and she says she's ready to do the work. Patterson joins the force after many years climbing the ranks at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department where she says she is proud of the use of force changes she helps implement with the department.
"Firstly, making sure that from the police perspective that our officers are well-trained, that they understand the law, that they know first amendment law, and they know that individuals can peacefully protest," Patterson said.
New Raleigh police chief Estella Patterson sits down with ABC11's Lauren Johnson in one-on-one
After spending more than two decades of her career in Charlotte, she says Raleigh is similar when it comes to growth which sometimes, unfortunately, breeds crime. Her mission is to reduce the violent crimes our city is seeing, and she says that can only happen by improving relationships between police and the community.
The mother of two sons says she understands the fears Black mothers have when they leave home or encounter police. That reality and the death of Fayetteville-native George Floyd are both reasons why Patterson insists proper training and supervision is paramount within the department.
Chief Patterson says communication with the community and transparency with the media are both important to her success as a leader.
So, why Raleigh after 25 years with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department? Patterson says it was the progressive thinking the department presents in moving the city forward. Patterson acknowledges it being a tough time to be in uniform, after the civil unrest of last summer, but maintains serving and protecting is an honor, and recruitment is high on her 'to do' list.
In the coming weeks, she plans to get out to meet more of her officers and members of the community to get a gauge on where she needs to begin making changes for the city of Raleigh.