Durham, NC — Durham City Manager Tom Bonfield said Tuesday, April 26th, he has chosen Cerelyn “CJ” Davis as Durham’s new police chief. Davis was serving as Deputy Chief of the City of Atlanta Police Department. As the new Durham Police Chief, Cerelyn “CJ” Davis was officially sworn into office on Monday June 6th.
“Deputy Chief Davis, during the course of her 30-year career, has demonstrated a broad array of skills and experience that will serve Durham well at this time. As we know, this is an extremely challenging time for policing, not only in Durham, but also throughout the country,” said Bonfield.
The other semifinalist, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Major Mike Smathers, told WSOC-TV on Monday that he had been told he didn’t get the job.
The search for a new chief began when Chief Jose Lopez retired Dec. 31, 2015. It included community meetings where the candidates took questions from the public.
“I am both appreciative and humbled to have been selected as the City of Durham’s new police chief. I enthusiastically look forward to working with the men and women of the Durham Police Department, to further build a culture of trust and collaboration in partnership with the citizens we serve,” Davis said.
I had the pleasure of getting to know CJ and her husband Terry while she served as the Deputy Chief of the Atlanta PD, when I lived in Georgia and was a member of Shaw Temple AME Zion Church, in Smyrna for about ten years. We worked together in a few ministries. I served as head of the music ministry, so we worked together on many functions and events at Shaw Temple. She was always dedicated and detailed oriented but humble as can be and as you can see from her impressive resume, she is more than qualified.
Davis will have her hands full, with shootings driving Durham crime rate up. Durham’s violent-crime rate for 2014 was up 15 percent from the year before, according to Former Police Chief Jose L. Lopez’s annual crime report on March 2, 2015, with 1,870 reported incidents of homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
As with many other communities of color, there is a need for better police-community relations, as it is a difficult time for policing all across the county but Davis while it will not happen over night has the pedigree to get the job done. BW Salutes Cerelyn “CJ” Davis who has just become the second female Durham Police Chief. Well deserved my friend, well deserved!