Meet the 3 finalists vying to become the next Raleigh Police chief

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The City of Raleigh is getting closer to picking who its next police chief will be. They announced the three finalists for the position Wednesday evening. This ahead of a forum tomorrow night.

None of those chosen as finalists are from the Raleigh Police Department. They would be moving here for the job.

After months of speculation and uncertainty, we’re getting a better idea of who Raleigh’s next top cop will be.

“It is a huge topic… our police department has done an excellent job over many years, but the question is can we do better,” Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said.

These are the finalists.

First up, Robert Lowe. He’s the Deputy Superintendent for the Cambridge Police Department in Massachusetts. He has 20 years of experience in law enforcement. He’s also a licensed attorney and a current doctoral student, focusing on implicit bias in policing.

Next up, Darryl McSwain. He’s the Chief of the Maryland National Capital Park Police. Before that he spent 30 years with the Montgomery County Department of Police.

Finally, Estella Patterson. She’s the Deputy Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, overseeing the Patrol Services Group. She’s been with the department for more than 20 years.

“They’re great candidates. They were very strong,” Shelia Alamin-Khashoggi said.

As the Chair of Raleigh’s Police Advisory Board, Alamin-Khashoggi had the chance to sit in on one of the panels that interviewed candidates.

“All of them had some type of experience in working with a police advisory board or citizen engagement board so that was very impressive, and they were very community-oriented,” Alamin-Khashoggi said.

How did we get here?

The current Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown announced she was retiring back in December. In March, the city hired a firm to conduct the search for her replacement. Raleigh also asked the public to take part in a survey. The city said the results of that survey were used to narrow down the pool of candidates. Panel interviews followed, not it’s down to three.

“I’m hoping to look more into the forum tomorrow that these candidates have a proven track record of being equitable,” Kerwin Pittman, a community activist said.

Interested in attending the virtual forum. Here’s the info.

Read the full biographies of all of the candidates:

Robert N. Lowe
Deputy superintendent Cambridge Police Department, Mass.

Robert N. Lowe

Deputy Superintendent Robert Lowe has 20 years of police experience as an active member of the Cambridge Police Department, Mass. Currently, he oversees a team of sworn officers and professional staff who provide services to vulnerable populations. He is commanding officer of the Family & Social Justice Section, which includes the Family Justice Unit, the Clinical Support Unit, and the Focus Deterrent Unit.

Lowe holds a Juris Doctor from the Massachusetts School of Law and an undergraduate degree in law enforcement from Western New England University.

Deputy Superintendent Lowe is a licensed attorney and current doctoral student at New York University focusing on implicit bias in policing. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and has served in the United States Marine Corps.
Lowe is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Police Executive Research Forum.

Darryl W. McSwain

Chief of Police – Maryland-National Capital Park Police

Darryl W. McSwain

Chief Darryl McSwain was appointed as the Chief of Police for the Maryland-National Capital Park Police – Montgomery County Division – in May 2018. Before this appointment, McSwain had a 30-year career with the Montgomery County Department of Police, where he led the Field Services Bureau, before retiring as an Assistant Chief.

His previous executive assignments include Deputy Commander of the 3rd District, Director of Internal Affairs, Commander of the 1st District Station, Director of Special Operations, and the Asst. Chief of the Patrol Services Bureau.

Chief McSwain holds an M.S. in administrative management from Bowie State University and a B.A. in criminal justice from the University of Maryland. Chief McSwain is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and National Executive Institute. McSwain also completed the Major Cities Chiefs Association Police Executive Leadership Institute.

Estella D. Patterson

Deputy chief – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Estella D. Patterson

Estella D. Patterson is a Deputy Chief with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and currently oversees the Patrol Services Group. She has been a member of CMPD since 1996, serving in several roles, including patrol officer, instructor, division commander, recruitment director, and Internal Affairs commander.

Deputy Chief Patterson earned a M.S. in criminal justice from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in political science from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

She is currently the President of the Greater Charlotte Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and an executive board member of the N.C. Police Executives Association. Additionally, she serves as a Commissioner on the N.C. Education and Training Standards Commission, which regulates the training, certification and policy making for all police officers in the state of North Carolina. Deputy Chief Patterson also served as a member of the U.S. Army Reserves from 1996-2005.


In April, Raleigh solicited input from the community on what was wanted in the next chief. The questionnaire asked a range of questions from what qualifications and leadership tools a chief should have to what the department as a whole needs to prioritize.

Deck-Brown, who was appointed chief in February 2013, announced in late December that she intended to retire on April 1.

However, on March 10, CBS 17 confirmed the City hadn’t begun its search for a replacement for Deck-Brown and said Deck-Brown’s official last day will be June 30.

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