Durham community gives mixed reaction as Police Chief Davis takes job in Memphis

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham Police Chief C.J. Davis will soon be leaving the Bull City. She has been selected by the Memphis mayor to serve as the city’s next police director.

While the Memphis City Council still has to approve the mayor’s pick, Davis has already put in her resignation with the Durham Police Department.

In a YouTube video posted by the City of Memphis on Monday, Mayor Jim Strickland made the announcement that he thought Davis was the right person for the job because of her leadership skills.

“She has a strategic vision for reducing violent crime and she has a record of building relationships with communities,” Strickland said.

In the video, Davis said she is ready to come and serve the city of Memphis.

“I want the citizens of Memphis to know that I understand the plight that we all face with gun violence,” Davis said.

After serving as police chief in Durham for five years, Davis notified Durham City Manager Wanda Page of her resignation from the Durham Police Department which will be effective June 11.

“We’re very sorry to lose her,” said Durham Mayor Steve Schewel.

Schewel and other city leaders told CBS 17 on Monday that Davis did a lot during her time in the city. Leaders said this included her efforts to rebuild trust in the community by reducing police “use of force.”

One example Schewel brought up is how the Durham Police Department handled the recent protests over the last year.

“If you look at the bigger picture, Durham has done so much better with a nonconfrontational style during demonstrations,” Schewel said.

Davis has also suspended checkpoints, which has helped bring down “use of force” in the Durham Police Department.

In addition, during her time in Durham, she also created two sworn positions: the Hispanic Outreach and LGBTQ Liaison officers, aimed at improving relationships with these community members.

But Davis is also leaving as the city of Durham saw a record number of shootings last year with more than 1,000 shooting incidents and more than 300 people shot. There are also around 60 police officer vacancies within the police department.

Community Activist Sheryl Smith said she thinks the lack of resources from city leaders is what made it hard for Davis to do address the problem with the recent shootings.

“If you’re not supporting her, then how can she help solve these crimes?” Smith said. She said she is also concerned that when a new police chief comes in, the same thing will happen again.

“I know people say she is running away from her responsibility, but I don’t think she is,” Smith said. “I think she’s tired and frustrated from not getting the support that she needs from her bosses. She can only do so much that she’s allowed to do.”

Thomas Navarre, president of the Durham County Fraternal Order of Police, sent CBS 17 the following statement in response to Davis’ planned departure:

The Durham County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 2 would like to congratulate Chief Davis on her selection to head the police department of Memphis Tennessee. We would like to thank Chief Davis for her leadership and for advocating for more officers and for the Taser program when the City Council was unwilling to approve these necessary resources. We hope that the FOP and the rank and file officers will have some part in the selection process for the next Police Chief of Durham. The FOP stands ready to assist the new Police Chief of Durham in facing many challenges including a significant staffing shortage and rising crime rate.

An interim police chief will be announced in the coming days and Durham city leaders will start a nationwide search for the next chief.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories