Durham city manager selects firm to search for new police chief

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – The Durham city manager has selected Developmental Associates, LLC to assist in the search for the City’s next police chief.

City Manager Tom Bonfield selected the firm led by Stephen K. Straus, Ph.D. to find a replacement for Chief Jose Lopez.

Bonfield made the decision in September to force Lopez into retirement. Lopez’ last day on the job will be Dec. 31, 2015.

In a statement released in September, Bonfield said, “After careful consideration, I have determined that a change in leadership is necessary at this time for the City of Durham and the Durham Police Department to continue to meet the law enforcement expectations and needs of the community.”

Bonfield said it was a decision not based on any single event but a culmination of issues.

“This was a lot less about past performance issues but this was more about what we needed in the department and community from the police chief going forward,” Bonfield said.

Spikes in crime rates, allegations of racial bias, and lack of transparency that have plagued the department under Lopez’s leadership.

The firm has worked in public sector searches for more than 25 years including police chief searches in Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte.

“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,” Bonfield said. “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.”

The four-month process of finding a new chief is expected to start next week.

There will be two community forms, one in Spanish, in order to gather the public’s input on the search.

The locations and times of those searches will be announced in early December.

The search is expected to cost $25,000.

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