Durham deputy police chief to serve as interim chief

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham Deputy Police Chief Larry Smith will serves as interim police chief starting Jan. 1, City Manager Tom Bonfield announced Tuesday.

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In September, Bonfield made the decision to force Chief Jose Lopez into retirement. Bonfield said it was a decision not based on any single event but a culmination of issues.

“Deputy Chief Smith’s 27 years of service to the Police Department as well as to the Durham community makes him an excellent choice to serve in the interim chief position as recruitment begins for a new police chief,” Bonfield said in a written statement. “Smith is a well-respected leader in the department, and I’m happy that he was willing to provide continuity until a new police chief is named.”

Smith, a Durham native, has spent his entire career at the Durham Police Department. He was named deputy chief of operations in July 2012.

Lopez’ last day on the job will be Dec. 31, 2015.

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