What Chapel Hill Means to Me — A Police Perspective
Every week or so, we’ll post personal stories from Chapel Hill residents about what living in this town means to them. This story is the third in the series.
After graduating from UNC, Chris Blue considered pursuing a career in radio, television, or motion pictures. But his love for this town inspired him to go in another direction.
Chris Blue is now the chief of police for the town of Chapel Hill, and he is determined to keep the community safe amid budget cuts that threaten the government’s potential to provide services.
“All governments are trying to figure out how to do more with less, or to do as much as we already do now with less resources,” he said. “The comprehensive plan allows us to think about the services that the community thinks are really important.”
As the town budget shrinks, its densities rise. Police need to find new ways to think about public safety in a community that is seeing taller buildings downtown and more traffic on the streets, said Blue.
“This community is going to continue to grow, there’s no question about that,” he said. “We’re going to have to think differently about policing.”
Blue said the Chapel Hill police have recently directed new resources towards a traffic unit. Seven officers in this unit have been assigned to educate the community about pedestrian and bike safety.
But Blue’s interest in the comprehensive plan expands beyond the sphere of public safety. As a long-term resident who lives just off of Estes Drive in Coker Hills, he said he is also concerned with growing costs of living.
“We have very few police officers and police department employees who live in this community,” he said, “and a lot of the reason why that’s true is that it’s very expensive to live here.”
Blue said he hopes that the diversity of the community will continue to remain a priority as the themes for the comprehensive plan develop.
“We value a diverse community where a lot of people live and interact. I’m glad to see that that’s not lost in this discussion,” he said.
To Police Chief Chris Blue, Chapel Hill is the place he was raised and the place he has chosen to raise his family. It’s a place he goes to work to protect every day. What does Chapel Hill mean to you?