- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - The president of a group representing Durham County law enforcement officers has backed Durham’s ousted police chief, blaming the city’s elected and appointed leaders instead for challenges with crime.

The News & Observer of Raleigh (https://bit.ly/1gTFu00 ) reports that Mike Evans, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Durham County Lodge No. 2, told the City Council that Police Chief Jose Lopez was not the reason for officers reporting low morale in a recent survey. Evans said officers are unhappy about low pay and the city not hiring more officers to keep up with population growth.

“We felt if you supported the chief and the department the way he supports us that we would not be having the problems that we are right now,” Evans told the City Council.

Two weeks ago, City Manager Tom Bonfield announced Police Chief Jose Lopez’s retirement at the end of the year. Bonfield said he gave Lopez the option to retire with notice, resign or be fired.

Bonfield said he was concerned about a rising crime rate, poor police-community relations and low morale.

Bonfield has acknowledged that police officers gave city management a poor score on a recent survey and that morale is an issue that city officials want to address.


Information from: The News & Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com

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