Police chief says keeping Strader will be based on his performance

In two interviews with The Alamance News this week, Graham police chief Kristy Cole was unapologetic about her decision to hire Douglas Strader, and she said nothing in his first month on the job has caused her to doubt that decision.

Cole originally called the newspaper’s editor and publisher, Tom Boney, Jr., on Monday morning to volunteer that she would like to sit down with the newspaper to outline the process and safeguards that the department employs in general – and, she said, she hoped to be able to provide some specifics about Strader’s case.

She alluded to the spin that she did not consider accurate or fair that she felt had been put on his hiring in a news story in another local publication.

The chief said she was planning to discuss the situation with city attorney Bob Ward, to ensure what she could say about Strader’s hiring in a subsequent Alamance News interview.

A tentative date was set for Tuesday afternoon (without a specific time), but when no follow-up had occurred by Wednesday afternoon, the newspaper’s publisher reached out to find out what had happened.

“They’re not going to let me release anything,” she said, referring to her conversation with the city’s attorneys. “They’re not going to let me say much at all,” she added.

Asked specifically why she would hire an officer who she would surely know would cause controversy, she said, “Officers are afforded due process [just like other citizens.]”

While not commenting on Strader’s case specifically, the chief noted that various police departments have “different management styles.” She also alluded vaguely to “political sacrifices” that may enter into hiring or firing decisions in some jurisdictions.

She has witnessed nothing during his first month on the job in Graham to make her reevaluate her decision to hire Strader, she said Wednesday afternoon.

Cole also disavowed that she had lowered the department’s standards in order to hire Strader. In particular, the newspaper asked whether – since the department has recently been suggesting to the city council that it is severely understaffed, and the chief is asking for 10 more patrol officers in the 2020-2021 budget year that begins July 1 – whether there had been any different standard in evaluating Strader. She insisted there was not.

She also said her evaluation of Strader and his continued employment with the Graham department would be based strictly on his performance on the job in Graham and would not be influenced by complaints or protests about his hiring.

She acknowledged that she had granted a permit for a Saturday morning (April 3) protest between 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Sesquicentennial Park across from the Historic Court House to Alamance Whites Against White Supremacy, which plans to hold a demonstration to protest Strader’s hiring.

Other aspects of this week’s coverage of officer Douglas Strader’s hiring and two controversies he was involved in while serving in Greensboro Police Department:

Graham police chief defends decision to hire officer fired by Greensboro Police Department: https://alamancenews.com/graham-chief-defends-hiring-policeman-fired-by-greensboro/

Statement from the Graham Police Department on hiring Douglas Strader: https://alamancenews.com/statement-from-graham-police-dept-on-hiring-of-douglas-a-strader-formerly-with-greensboro-police-dept/

Strader fired one year about shooting at fleeing vehicle; city manager denies his appeal of the firing: https://alamancenews.com/straders-decision-to-shoot-at-fleeing-vehicle-gets-him-fired/

Strader was present in Greensboro during the encounter with Marcus Smith and his subsequent death, but officers not held responsible: https://alamancenews.com/death-of-marcus-smith-in-greensboro-police-custody-tragic-but-officers-not-implicated/

See Greensboro Police Department body-cam video from the tragic encounter with Marcus Smith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P55gefPZDVM