Durham News

Durham police chief search down to 14 candidates

A search firm has helped the city pick 14 of 42 applicants from across the country to proceed to the next round in the search for Durham’s next police chief.

“I was pleased to see such a significant number of highly qualified applicants for the position,” said City Manager Tom Bonfield, who with search firm Developmental Associates, narrowed the field of applicants.

Bonfield would not say whether any of the 14 remaining applicants are current members of the Durham Police Department. Interim Chief Larry Smith, a department veteran who was appointed after Bonfield ousted former chief Jose Lopez, has said he plans to retire this spring.

The 14 will now undergo more screening, including a telephone interview and writing exercise over the next two weeks, Bonfield said. Based on those responses, a smaller number of candidates will then be selected to participate in an assessment center, scheduled for Feb 29-March 1.

The top two or three three finalists will meet with Police Department staff and public in late March. The city remains on track to hire someone by early April and have the new chief start in May.

Since community input is still being sought, Developmental Associates is hosting a second forum for the Latino community to provide input. This forum, conducted in Spanish, will be held at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14, immediately following Mass in the sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 810 W. Chapel Hill St. The first forum was held at El Centro Hispano on Dec. 15 and was conducted in English with parts translated into Spanish.

The city is also encouraging residents to complete an online survey – in English at bit.ly/durhampolicechiefsearch and in Spanish at bit.ly/durhampolicechiefsearchspanish – to give input on what they want in the next police chief. So far, 427 surveys in English and seven surveys in Spanish have been completed.

To help encourage more residents to complete the online survey, the ity’s search firm has tweaked the layout to make both surveys easier to complete on mobile devices.