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Chapel Hill’s first female police chief takes the helm

Celisa Lehew is the new police chief of Chapel Hill.
Town of Chapel Hill
Celisa Lehew is the new police chief of Chapel Hill.

Chapel Hill has a new police chief.

Celisa Lehew is now the first woman to lead the town's police department. She’s also Chapel Hill's ninth police chief, after she started her new role Sunday.

Lehew has served in several leadership roles during her nearly 19-year career on the force, including her previous position as assistant chief. She was first sworn in as a patrol officer with the department in 2004.

“We have a very strong foundation of community policing, and our officers are at the heart of that,” said Lehew, when it was first announced in November that she’d been hired. “As chief, I will support and invest in our team, so we can give our best to our community.”

Lehew replaced Chris Blue, who retired as police chief.

Blue is now the interim town manager for Chapel Hill, after his predecessor Maurice Jones resigned last month. Like Lehew, Blue’s first day on the job was Sunday.

Sascha Cordner is WUNC’s Supervising Editor for Daily News. She joined the station in June 2022, after working as the first statewide afternoon newscaster for the Texas Newsroom for nearly three years. As part of the NPR-Texas collaborative, she was based out of Houston Public Media.
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