Two finalists for the vacant UNC police chief position were on campus Tuesday morning for a question and answer session, as part of the University’s formal hiring process.
David Perry began his law enforcement career in Albany, Georgia — moving from an investigator role to a position in the drug unit — and was appointed chief of police at Albany State University, his alma matter, at age 26.
He accepted the police chief position at Florida State University in 2006, and immediately prior to that was deputy chief at Clemson University. In total he has nearly 25 years of law enforcement, and specializes in higher education settings.
On June 21, the two other finalists participated in the same type of event. Johnny Jennings is Deputy Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department, and Dave Kelly is a Major on NC State’s force.
UNC recently appointed Thomas Younce to lead the department in an interim capacity, and hopes to have a permanent replacement for McCracken, who left his role on July 1, by the start of the fall semester.
“There’s a time to be the police,” Perry said. “That’s to be community oriented, provide information, be a partner. But then there's also a time to be the po-lice, and that's when you have to go out and enforce the laws, hold people accountable. You have to actually do the job of enforcement, or there’s no real fear of reprisal.”
The FSU police force is similar in size to that of UNC, with 67 sworn officers. Like other candidates for the job, Perry has managed large-scale operations: citing events that saw over 80,000 strong.