Police Chief Harry Dolan

Harry Dolan’s been in the news lately, at odds with a lot of his troops. is there a connection between that and his announcement today that he’s out of here as police chief in a few weeks?

City Manager Russell Allen heaps praise on Dolan, so much so that you wonder why he’s leaving:

Raleigh’s Chief of Police to Retire

City Manager J. Russell Allen today announced the retirement of Chief of Police Harry P. Dolan, effective Oct. 1. Chief Dolan’s retirement after five years as police chief caps a law enforcement career spanning 32 years and a tenure that brought progress to the department.

“Harry Dolan has been an excellent police chief for Raleigh, but more importantly, he has been an exceptional leader,” Mr. Allen said. “His high level of technical and strategic law enforcement skills are matched by his unwavering ethical standards, commitment to the community, pride in the department’s employees, and enthusiasm for police work.

“Every day, he was as excited about his opportunities as police chief as he was about his work as an officer the day he graduated from the Raleigh Police Academy 30 years ago. Our community is safer today because of his work, and he has personally touched many of us with his humor and compassion,” the City Manager added.

Chief Dolan’s tenure as Raleigh’s police chief began Sept. 4, 2007, when he assumed his duties here after serving as chief of the Grand Rapids, Mich., Police Department for nine years. Prior to his service in Michigan, he was the chief of the Lumberton Police Department from 1992 to 1998 and the chief of the North Carolina Department of Human Resources’ Police Department at Black Mountain from 1987 to 1992. Before his work as a chief began, he served as a Raleigh Police Department officer from 1982 to 1987 after being named the most outstanding graduate of his police academy class. Chief Dolan’s law enforcement career began in 1980 as a Buncombe County deputy sheriff.

“I am grateful to City Manager J. Russell Allen for selecting me to serve as Raleigh’s chief of police and a member of his leadership team,” Chief Dolan said. “That afforded me the distinct privilege and honor of serving this dynamic city and permitted me to have the truly remarkable experience of once again serving with the men and women of the Raleigh Police Department. Throughout their ranks, the members of this department demonstrate every day that they have a tremendous dedication to serving and protecting this community, and I’m absolutely confident they are prepared to continue to accomplish a great deal on behalf of its residents.”

Each of the Raleigh Police Department’s six districts now have officers assigned to full-time community policing work, an initiative Chief Dolan began in the Southeast Police District in January 2009, and community policing is a hallmark of his tenure as chief. Internally, he emphasized training and preparedness, exemplified by accomplishments such as the development of the department’s Leadership Institute program and its implementation of national standards for handling critical incidents. In addition, he focused on improving departmental staffing, both in terms of filling officer vacancies and in regard to bolstering supervisory and managerial capabilities.

“As chief, he has done an exemplary job leading the Raleigh Police Department,” Mr. Allen said. “He is a champion of community policing and has used his considerable knowledge and expertise in that area to strengthen ties between residents and police officers. In addition, he deserves credit for significant enhancements that have been made to the training received by Raleigh police officers and for improvements to the department’s organization, accountability, and professionalism.

“Raleigh justifiably prides itself on having one of the nation’s best police departments,” Mr. Allen continued, “and Chief Dolan has enhanced that reputation during his tenure. His retirement is well-earned, and I know the entire community joins me in wishing him the best as he moves forward.”

The City Manager said Deputy Chief of Police Cassandra Deck-Brown will serve as interim chief of police upon Chief Dolan’s departure. The search process for a new chief will be advertised and open to highly qualified internal and external candidates.

Chief Dolan said that he began making plans to depart as his retirement eligibility approached and that he made a decision several months ago to retire from the department this fall. He has not yet announced his personal plans for the future.