Hillsborough Names Police Chief

Press Date: 

The Town of Hillsborough has selected Duane Hampton, a lieutenant with the Durham Police Department, as its new chief of police.

Hampton will start Nov. 1 and will be paid a salary of $83,100. He replaces former Chief Clarence Birkhead, who resigned in April.

“Throughout the selection process, Mr. Hampton demonstrated impressive skill, ability and knowledge in the areas that the community watch leaders, business leaders, citizens and Police Department staff identified as critical for making Hillsborough an even safer community,” Hillsborough Town Manager Eric Peterson said. “Most importantly, I believe he will support and partner with the talented personnel already in the Police Department to develop ways to improve the quality of law enforcement services to Hillsborough’s citizens.”

Hampton started his career with the Durham Police Department in 1995. He has worked as a patrol officer, corporal, training corporal, investigations sergeant and staff inspection sergeant. Since January, he has served as the assistant division commander of Criminal Investigations, with responsibility for the operation of homicide, youth, fraud and domestic violence investigations units and the forensic services and property and evidence units. Those units consist of 40 investigators and 20 civilian employees. In addition, he has been responsible for policy development, budget preparation, internal selection and maintenance of 24-hour, on-call investigative coverage.

“I am honored to be selected as Hillsborough’s chief of police and look forward to serving and becoming a part of the Hillsborough community,” Hampton said. “I plan to make it a priority to get to know the town and the department and be able to hit the ground running. I appreciate all the involvement and feedback the community has provided about what they expect in their chief of police and for their community, and I plan to take it to heart. I look forward to the future and a lasting and collaborative partnership to solve community problems and improve quality of life.”

Hillsborough received almost 200 applications for the police chief position. Ten candidates were interviewed by phone by the town manager. Four went through a semi-finals assessment center in August that included interviews with the town manager, a panel of police officers and a panel of members from the town’s management team. The four candidates also completed two writing exercises to assess how they would handle a variety of situations, including personnel, technical and political situations as well as budget and performance measurement.

Hampton and Acting Police Chief Davis Trimmer were selected as the two finalists. Trimmer has been serving as interim chief since April 2 and is lieutenant of the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

The final assessment last week included an exercise in which the finalists made presentations to a cross-section of the community, including community watch and business leaders, Hillsborough commissioners, citizens selected by the board, Police Department employees, local media, outside assessors and staff.

The finalists also were interviewed by the town manager and by two panels made up of police chiefs and law enforcement experts as well as managers from outside local governments. A final exercise rated by three assessors was a brainstorming session in which Police Department staff were able to interact with the final candidates and share ideas to improve the department.

“It was a difficult decision as Acting Chief Davis Trimmer has truly done an outstanding job over the past six months,” the town manager said. “Acting Chief Trimmer has raised morale, implemented several operational improvements and brought a great deal of stability to the department during his tenure. I owe him a great deal of gratitude for his professionalism as well as the excellent work he has done in handling a variety of difficult situations.”

The Hillsborough Police Department has 32 employees and a $2.5 million budget this fiscal year.

Key responsibilities in Hampton’s positions with the Durham Police Department have included:

  • Ensuring compliance with departmental policies and accreditation standards. This included conducting internal investigations and audits to identify areas of effective and ineffective work processes and to recommend improvements. Best practices also were identified by conducting statistical and comparative analysis, conducting interviews, and networking with other jurisdictions.
  • Leading a district investigations unit that received more than 500 violent and property crime cases each month. The unit worked closely with the community, using problem-oriented and community-oriented strategies to abate problems.
  • Managing a field training program, which included organization, supervision, training, motivation and evaluation of 25 recruit officers and 40 training officers.

Hampton also has worked as a part-time police officer at Raleigh-Durham International Airport since 2002. He has an advanced law enforcement certificate and has been a criminal justice instructor since 1998. He earned a master of public administration from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2009 and his Law Enforcement Supervisory Certificate from N.C. State in June 2006. He also has a bachelor of arts from Virginia Tech.