Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Darrel Stephens announced will retire, effective March 1, reports the Charlotte Observer. Stephens, 60, has led the 2,000 employee department for 8 years. Stephens is well known in national law enforcement circles for his advocacy of community-oriented policing. He has served as executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum and as police chief in St. Petersburg Fl., Newport News, Va. and Largo, Fl.
The Observer said in an editorial that under Stephens’s leadership the police department “has pushed strongly for programs that confront the causes of crime instead of relying exclusively on traditional policing. That has not made everyone happy, particularly victims who want the security of a cop on every corner. Yet that broader approach to using limited resources is a crucial ingredient of public safety in a city that is an urban job center, a financial center and a national destination for visitors and tourists.”