Chapel Hill police chief speaks for first time since Silent Sam came down

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Six weeks after Silent Sam came down, Chapel Hill's police chief spoke publicly for the first time.

Chief Chris Blue participated in a community conversation led by the Orange County Human Relations Commission about the statue's future.

The talk was entitled "Hate, Heritage and Hope: Orange County Voices."

"I'm saddened that our department's association with Silent Sam may well diminish the work we've done," Blue said. "We've done great work when it comes to addressing racial disparities, tackling bias and building relationships with everyone in every corner."

Last year Blue said UNC's Police Chief Jeff McCracken sent a letter to the chancellor expressing concerns that the statue had become a public safety threat -- it's a position Chief Blue agreed with then and now.

"Many people in our community are highly, highly charged around the issue and we've seen that," Chief Blue said. "I think the statue makes us less safe in our community. We said that a year ago and my opinion about that has not changed. I think we all expected that at some point, an effort would be made to take the statue down. We certainly had concerns about when that happened that somebody could be seriously hurt, but I think we've been fortunate so far."

The chief said a large-scale review is going on in his department as well as others that responded to the incident.

He encouraged members of the public to reach out to him if they had an issue with the way Chapel Hill officers did their jobs during the last six weeks.

MORE: Full coverage of the Silent Sam saga
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