FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is on a six-city tour of outstanding police departments across the nation, and one of those stops will bring her to Fayetteville.
Harold Medlock was named Fayetteville’s police chief in 2013, and the strong rapport he has built in the community is the reason the attorney general is on her way to the city to shake his hand.
Medlock didn’t waste any time turning things around, and he didn’t do it alone. In 2014, he asked the U.S. Department of Justice to come in and evaluate his force. He asked them to tell him what his officers were doing right and help him fix what they were doing wrong.
Medlock said he is excited, but humbled, by Lynch’s upcoming visit. He said his department has used some innovative tools that have really started to pay off in the community.
“It’s the result of a lot of great work by our police officers, our command staff, but also our community partners. This is a partnership, and it really is starting to pay off for us,” Medlock said.
After about a year of evaluation, the Department of Justice’s report on the Fayetteville Police Department revealed the department needed to improve its use-of-force policies. To do that, Medlock hired former Raleigh police Chief Harry Dolan, who has taken charge of community policing.
“What’s going to happen with the increased scrutiny, we’re going to do nothing but increase our professionalism. We’re turning up our professionalism,” said Dolan.
Overall, the Justice Department said Fayetteville has a professional and well-trained police department with a strong emphasis on community policing.
Medlock has worked closely with the city council and the mayor to get funding for additional officers. He said fourteen recent police academy graduates went on patrol Monday.
“We have to be the leaders in Fayetteville to ensure our folks are doing right. Hopefully we’re learning from those incidents and then we can share what we’re doing with other departments across the country,” Medlock said.