In my 20 years as a law-abiding citizen, I’ve only had two experiences with the police. When I was 7, I misdialed 911 and almost gave myself a heart attack waiting for the police to track me down and show up at my door. The other was during my first year when my bike was stolen from the bike rack near my dorm.
This Friday, I had another encounter with the Chapel Hill police but under less stressful circumstances. I was able to follow Jason Bellavance, a Chapel Hill police officer of 15 years, around on his afternoon shift.
Bellavance attended a police academy near Greenville after graduating from East Carolina University. He moved to Chapel Hill after getting his certification and has been here ever since. A father of three, he enjoys running and takes the first hour of his workday to run, usually around campus.
As a member of the downtown force, Bellavance patrols Franklin Street and North Chapel Hill. He usually bikes or walks around campus, but on rainy days he circles the area in his car.
“My favorite part of the job is interacting with people and walking around," Bellavance said. "I like that I’m not stuck in an office all day."