Search for Greensboro police chief heats up

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Mistrust, racial profiling and out of touch with the community are issues a firm hired to find the city's next police chief heard from residents Thursday night.

"I hear from a lot of people and a lot are talking about how police are rude, use excessive force, planting evidence, you name it," said Lewis Brandon, a local activist to the firm. "It's happening right now and it needs to stop."

Developmental Associates, hired to conduct the search, held the community meeting Thursday at the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Representatives with the search firm said they were aware of past problems and public views of the police department, including allegations of discrimination against minority officers.

Some residents called on the firm to find a candidate with local ties, specifically a minority who would understand the culture of the African American community.

Willie Williams with the firm and a former police chief himself told the audience he can't promise a minority chief but would promise to find a candidate who understands the African American community.

Residents also expressed they want a chief who will support a citizen police review committee to help oversee the department something they say city leaders have pushed back on.

Residents who could not attend the meeting can go online to the city's website at www.greensboro-nc.gov/chiefsearch and complete a survey and share their opinions.

The firm hopes to name a chief by mid-February.