Durham Police Chief CJ Davis tapped to lead national black law enforcement group

A national law enforcement organization has chosen Durham’s police chief to be its next president.

Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis will lead the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, after being installed Wednesday during the organization’s training conference in New Orleans, according to a news release.

“I am excited about the opportunity to lead this great organization during this critical time in our nation and world,” Davis said in the release. “There is important work to be done. NOBLE is in the perfect position to help produce solutions as we continue to strive for equity in the administration of justice for all communities.”

Davis was accompanied by Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.

She is the organization’s 42nd president. It has more than 3,000 members worldwide.

Davis will be responsible for the strategic direction of the organization, the release says.

Davis has been Durham’s police chief since June 2016, becoming the first African-American woman to lead the department. She previously served 28 years with the Atlanta Police Department where she received training opportunities abroad. One of those was with the Israel National Police in 2012, which she has described as a “leadership” opportunity to “build community and police relations.”

Davis had cited her trip to Israel, along with saying no similar training was being planned, in a memo to the city manager last year. The City Council cited the Israel reference in a statement condemning militarized policing, unleashing months of criticism from area rabbis and others and three lawsuits. Despite requests to remove Israel from the statement, the city let the wording stand.

Two months ago, the City Council rejected Davis’ request for 18 additional officers. She had wanted to deploy the new officers in District 4, where officers’ beats and work schedules would be adjusted. The Police Department now has 547 sworn officers.

Mayor Pro Tem Jillian Johnson said then that the Police Department didn’t need the extra officers given long-term improvements in crime trends, staffing levels and response times.

The request also came as reported incidents of violent crime were up 17%, as of June 1, compared to the same period last year.

The violent crime rate has dropped off since then, up 6.1% as of Aug 10, compared to the same period last year.

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Joe Johnson is a reporter covering breaking stories for The News & Observer. He most recently covered towns in western Wake County and Chatham County. Before that, he covered high school sports for The Herald-Sun.