Chapel Hill names first woman police chief

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Friday, November 18, 2022
Chapel Hill names first female police chief
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Assistant Chief Celisa Lehew, a 19-year veteran of the Chapel Hill Police Department, has been named the town's first female top cop.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Town of Chapel Hill has made a milestone hire as its next police chief.

Assistant Chief Celisa Lehew has been named the town's first woman top cop.

""We have a very strong foundation of community policing, and our officers are at the heart of that," Lehew said in a tweet. "As Chief, I will support and invest in our team, so we can give our best to our community."

Town Manager Maurice Jones announced the hire, which comes after a nationwide search to replace retiring Police Chief Chris Blue.

"I am thrilled to be able to select one of our own to build on the lasting legacy of Chief Blue and the officers who have served with him," said Jones. "Assistant Chief Lehew has been not only a leader in this organization but a leader in our community on many of the critical issues related to improving community safety for all.

"Through a rigorous process, which included a deep and talented pool of candidates, she presented us with a vision that continues the vital work that has made the Chapel Hill Police Department a leading organization locally, regionally, and nationally," Jones added.

Lehew was sworn in as a patrol officer in 2004 and has served in various leadership roles in her 19 years with the Chapel Hill Police Department.

"I am so excited for Chief Lehew and the Guardians of the Hill," Blue said. "Chief Lehew is the perfect selection to lead this extremely talented group of employees who deliver a special brand of policing to our community. And, that doesn't happen by accident. It happens because we hire great people, listen to the community we serve, and are committed to maintaining strong relationships with every corner of Chapel Hill. The department is in good hands with Chief Lehew at the helm and I look forward to seeing what's next for them under her leadership."

A native of Sault Ste Marie, Canada, Lehew earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Lake Superior State University and a Master's in Justice Administration from Methodist University. She and her husband have two daughters and a French bulldog.

Lehew will assume her new duties Jan. 1,