FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville residents are hearing from two candidates for police chief in a public forum Tuesday at city hall. The ultimate appointee will take over for the current chief, Gina Hawkins, once she steps down in January. The new chief will also have to contend with the city's recent increase in crime.
Candidates James Nolette and Kem Braden will be fielding questions from the public about how they'll run the police department in the council chambers. People on the street called out community relations as a major issue.
"My biggest concern or question I would have for them is: how involved they think they should be with nonviolent or non-serious crimes versus someone like a social worker or someone specialized in domestic problems or mental health issues?" said Maurice Spagatner.
"How would they work on relationship building with the community and with the residents of the town just to create more of a safe relationship?" asked Demetrius Sanders.
Both Nolette and Braden are current assistant police chiefs in the Fayetteville Police Department. Nolette has been with the department for about 25 years. Originally from Rhode Island, Nolette is a third-generation police officer. Braden has been with the department for about 27 years, and is a Fayetteville native.
One mom says cracking down on violence is top of mind.
"The rise of crimes by young people is a big concern and so my question to them is how would you use our current resources to keep our schools safer? (And) help our younger students try and not pursue a life of crime?" said Sherry Miller.
City Manager Doug Hewett could decide on candidate to head the police department before the end of the year.