Photo by Justin Cook
Outgoing Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez, bottom, second to right.
The search for Durham's newest police chief will soon be underway.
The city announced Tuesday that it has selected a Durham firm
, Development Associates LLC, to lead the search process for outgoing Chief Jose Lopez's replacement
. By the city's timetable, national and regional recruitment will stretch into January, with the first candidate recommendations coming late in the month.
Interviews will be held in March and City Manager Tom Bonfield says he hopes to offer the job by early April. The new chief, presumably, would start in May.
Meanwhile, Lopez, whose office has been dogged by charges of racial profiling
, controversial shootings—including the apparent suicide of 17-year-old Jesus Huerta in the back of a police cruiser in 2013
—and a general disconnect with the community, will close his eight-year tenure on Dec. 31.
City officials say public input will be a major part of this process. Durham will hold two community forums, one to be conducted in Spanish, in mid-December. Dates and times will be announced next week. And the public will also be able to offer comments online through the city's website.
Next week, the city says, the firm will begin gathering info from "community stakeholders," including city leaders and staff.
"I believe Developmental Associates has a unique understanding of Durham, and will be able to use that knowledge to help Durham select the right person for the community," said Bonfield in a statement. "Additionally, the firm has extensive experience in law enforcement executive searches, using methods that would be tailored for the specific needs of the position and the city."
City Councilman Eddie Davis told the Indy
in September that he'll be searching for a new chief who is more responsive to the community
. "There's one thing that I don't think Chief Lopez ever mastered," Davis said. "In many ways, the chief didn't respond when people asked him to."
Development Associates has led police chief searches in Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Greensboro and Charlotte.