For Chapel Hill’s Police Chief, a strong community is built on strong relationships
As a Chapel Hill local for more than 40 years, Chris Blue has seen a lot of change in our growing city. Even so, he recognizes that “In many ways this is still a small town. It’s the kind of place where you want to set down roots and grow your family.” As a 23-year veteran of our police department, Chris has extended his sense of family to include all of Chapel Hill.
It is that sense of family that leads him to see every day on the job as an opportunity to make meaningful change – and to see strong relationships as the foundation for meaningful change. “You have to be deliberate and intentional about building a culture that stresses the importance of relationships,” he says, “Because it’s relationships that get you through the hard times. To do that well as a public agency requires an organizational commitment.”
A commitment to high standards
As a police chief, Chris carries a deep reverence for the importance of high standards in his profession. “There was a time when police officers were among the most trusted, respected professionals in this country”, he says. While he recognizes that every situation is different and no human organization is perfect, he wants the efforts of the Chapel Hill Police Department to lead the way in building and maintaining the trust and respect of the people they serve.
When asked what his officers can do to improve their lives and the lives of their community members, he says, “Despite what the movies might depict, police work is really about relationships and human interaction. You’ve gotta love people to do this kind of work. Every encounter is an opportunity to clear up some of the uncertainties surrounding police officers right now.”
Aspirations For A Brighter Tomorrow
As he looks toward the future, Chris advocates for his department – and police departments everywhere – to “Lend their vocal support to services that can solve community problems”, such as homelessness and mental illness. He also wants to see the Chapel Hill Police Department “Make a real commitment to carefully and thoughtfully serving traditionally underserved parts of our community.”
Amidst today’s challenges, we find hope and inspiration in having such a forward-thinking member of our community as Police Chief Chris Blue. No matter how much it has grown, the tight-knit sense of belonging that you’ll find in Chapel Hill comes from the love that long-term residents like Chris have for this community – and their dedication to building strong, mutually supportive relationships with everyone they encounter.