Durham police chief selected to lead Memphis Police Department

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham’s police chief has been picked to be the next chief of police in Memphis, Tennessee.

The City of Memphis tweeted the news Monday morning.

“We wanted to give you an opportunity to meet Mayor Strickland’s selection for Chief of Police for the Memphis Police Department,” the City tweeted. “Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis has over 33 years of experience in the law enforcement profession.”

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Davis stood out due to her leadership experience in Atlanta and Durham.

“So, you put all those things together, and you’ll see in a second when you hear her talk, you want to work for her. You want to follow her leadership. It’s that kind of dynamic leadership that I wanted to tap into,” added Strickland during a taped interview.

The Memphis City Council will have to approve the selection.

Durham City Manager Wanda Page said Davis informed her on Sunday that her last day in Durham would be June 11.

“While I am sad to see her leave, I am excited for the next chapter of her extraordinary career. Her five-year tenure in Durham has been transformative as she became a valued member of this great community, championing community policing in the city as well as among police officers and staff,” Page said.

The city manager said an interim chief would be named in the coming days.

“The search for a new police chief is a high priority for the City that will begin immediately. I anticipate taking 60-to-120 days to find the right combination of experience and fit for Durham. The community will be kept informed and involved during the process,” Page said.

Durham City Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton called Davis’ departure a “loss for the city of Durham.”

“Chief Davis is really a part of the cadry of chiefs across the country that are really pushing back against those old strongholds in policing, so Memphis has made a brilliant choice. I’m not surprised at all,” he said.

On April 5, Memphis listed Davis as a candidate for the position.

She has been Durham’s police chief since June 2016 where she took over for Jose Lopez.

Davis’ departure means both Durham and Raleigh will be searching for a new chief.

Raleigh Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown is retiring June 30.

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