Fayetteville residents interview police chief candidates in public forum

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Fayetteville residents packed City Hall on Thursday to get a chance to be a part of the city’s decision making process on who will become the new police chief.

About 30 people applied for the police chief position.

The city narrowed that number down to three.

And the community questioned those candidates on what’s most important to them.

In total, about 50 questions were sent in from community members to be asked during the public panel.

As well, during the forum people filled out questions they want the candidates to answer.

“What’s important to me is we know who we have,” said Marion Garvin.

Garvin has lived in Fayetteville for 25 years.

He’s a member of the community watch, and works closely with the police. He says he wants to keep that openness between officers and the community going.

“You have to get outside of the cars. You can’t just be a police officer in a suit. Because you don’t know who they are, what they are, or what they’re about,” said Garvin.

This was an idea shared by other members of the Fayetteville community.

“I think it’s really important we make sure who takes the mantel from here continues that good work. Has a progressive view of policing, and concerned about community policing,” said Gerard Falls.

Falls is a teacher.

He says so often he sees a barrier in the eye of his students when it comes to police.

Something Falls says the City of Fayetteville has struggled with in the past.

However, he says in recent years the city has been changing so much, and he wants to see that continue.

“I think there has been progress and we can’t let the progress go,” he said.

During the forum, all three candidates discussed the importance of strong relationships between police and the community.

The finalists are:

  • Interim Chief Anthony Kelly He’s a Fayetteville native and has been with the department since 2005. Kelly became Interim Chief when Harold Medlock retired last year.
  • Deputy Chief Gina Hawkins of the Clayton County (Georgia) Police DepartmentHawkins oversees field operations and support services and has more than 28 years of experience.
  • Deputy Chief James Hinson of the Greensboro Police DepartmentHe’s the patrol bureau commander for the Greensboro police department and oversees a $31 million dollar budget.

For more information on the candidates, click here.

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