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Durham chief did not give preferential treatment in hiring nephew, city says

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The City of Durham said police Chief Jose Lopez did not give preferential treatment to his nephew in his hiring. The City of Durham said police Chief Jose Lopez did not give preferential treatment to his nephew in his hiring.
DURHAM, N.C. -

The City of Durham has closed the books on a claim that its police chief gave preferential treatment to a relative in his hiring on with the Police Department earlier this year.

Durham Police Assistant Chief Winslow Forbes raised concerns in a written complain that Chief Jose Lopez gave preferential treatment to his nephew, Ramon Grillasca, in Grillasca's hiring.

Grillasca is the nephew of Lopez's wife, Rebecca Lopez.

The complaint was reviewed by the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Section of the City's Audit Services Department, which found no evidence of improper decisions or influence to support the allegation or overturn Grillasca's hiring.

The Human Resources Department also determined Grillasca's hiring was not in violation of the City's nepotism policy.

City Manager Tom Bonfield told the The Herald-Sun of Durham that the family tie is "is not covered" under local or state anti-nepotism policies.

The Audit Services Department also confirmed that the State of North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission reviewed, interviewed, and verified Grillasca's credentials for eligibility to graduate after successfully completing the requirements of the police academy.

The Standards Commission is charged with vetting and approving police officer candidates prior to graduation from police academy

Tom Bonfield previously told The Herald-Sun that Grillasca's relationship with Lopez "was vetted" during the hiring process.

In addition to Grillasca's relationship with Lopez, Forbes and his supporters had raised concerns about Grillasca's court record in Florida.

North Carolina does not disqualify a person from being a police officer if they have a criminal record, as long as the candidate is not a convicted felon.

Grillasca's most recent charge was a 2004 misdemeanor charge of uttering a false instrument.

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