Jose Lopez, Sr., Chief of Police, 2007- Present
Chief Jose Lopez, Sr., is Durham’s first Hispanic chief of police. Initiatives and partnerships he has instituted through 2012 include Operation Bull’s Eye, which focuses police resources on a two-square-mile area in Northeast Central Durham with high numbers of violent gun crime. According to police, violent crime in the area dropped more than 51 percent from 2007 to 2011.
In 2010 the warrant squad, made up of a corporal and four officers, was formed. The squad collaborates with other agencies to serve high-priority warrants and works on the backlog of unserved warrants. The department served over 7,000 warrants on more than 2,200 people in 2011.
Lopez has begun two youth-oriented initiatives: BECOMING (Building Every Chance of Making it Now and Grown-up), to help youths between the ages of 16 and 21 with serious emotional and mental problems, and the Police Athletic League, which includes soccer, baseball and basketball. It has served more than 500 youths, ages 5 to 18.
Other initiatives include:
- the Residential Awareness Program, designed to reduce home burglaries in the city;
- the Violent Incident Responses initiative, focusing on aggravated assaults;
- the Violent Incident Response Team, targeting violent crime, especially gun crime, and violent offenders;
- a Special Victims Unit focusing on sex crimes;
- a Mental Health Outreach Program to cut the number of arrests, reduce repeat 911 calls, and help officers with those who need alternatives to jail; and
- a campaign to improve relations between Latino crime victims and Durham police.
Violent crime has dipped to a ten-year low during Lopez’s time as chief.
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