::New Police Chief Chosen In Durham
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Thursday, July 19, 2007
DURHAM - During a press conference today, the Durham City Manager Patrick Baker announced that Jose L. Lopez, Sr. will be the next police chief for the City of Durham.
Current Durham Police Chief Steven Chalmers is stepping down after being head of the department since 2002. The Durham Police Department has come under criticism for its handling of the Duke lacrosse case.
According to the City of Durham, Lopez will start at his new position with the Durham Police Department on September 1st and his annual salary will be $125,000. Chalmers will stay on with the department until he retires later this year.
He was selected following a seven-month search process that included a public forum and several interviews, says the City of Durham.
Experience In Hartford
In his previous job, Lopez served as the assistant police chief in Hartford, Connecticut, where he has been the Chief of Detectives and Patrol.
According to the Hartford Police, as Chief of Detectives, Assistant Chief Lopez oversaw all investigative functions of the department, including the Major Crimes, Juvenile Investigative, Crime Scene, Intelligence, and Vice and Narcotics Divisions.
The Hartford Police Traffic Division, Bomb Squad, Disorder Control Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, Tactical Vehicles/Logistics Unit, Special Events Unit, Emergency Response Team, Tactical Medical Team, Marine Unit and K-9/Animal Control Unit were also under Chief Lopez' command.
Prior to serving as the assistant chief of police, Lopez served as the deputy chief of the Hartford Police Department's South Division from 2006-2005, says the city of Durham.
According to the City of Durham, he has also served as captain, lieutenant, sergeant and patrol officer in Hartford from 1983-2005; investigator for the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety from 1982-1983; and as a military police officer in the United States Air Force at Barksdale Air Base, Bossier City, Louisiana from 1976-1980.
The Hartford Police Department says that Lopez has been married to Rebecca Lopez, a retired Hartford Police Officer with twenty-one years of service, for more than 30 years. The department says on its website that both entered the department in 1983 and were both sworn in on the same date. Both of them have been featured in the television series "Top Cops," says Hartford PD.
About The Search Process
According to the City of Durham, they started looking for a new chief in December 2006 when Chalmers indicated he would retire this year.
The city says it placed advertisements in two local newspapers, the City's website as wells as International City/County Management Association (ICMA), International Association Chiefs of Police (IACP) and North Carolina League of Municipalities (NCLM) websites, and also in the ICMA, IACP and NCLM publications.
Durham says it received around 60 applications and then narrowed the those down to 28 people.
Later, the city says the city manager and the two deputy city manager narrowed the group down to twelve after which he City's Department of Human Resources then helped narrow the field further down to five candidates.
The city says those five candidates were invited to attend an an assessment process on May 18, 2007 which included interviews by a panel of city directors, two regional police chiefs, the city manager and his two deputies. ::