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Chapel Hill Police Department may be opening new headquarters on UNC campus

The university is leasing land to the Chapel Hill Police Department to build a new building.

The university is leasing land to the Chapel Hill Police Department to build a new building.

Currently, police headquarters are on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, but Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker said new headquarters would potentially be built on land owned by the University on Estes Drive.

Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue said it is too early to know if this will happen, but he is hopeful it will.

Parker said the move was not decided upon to increase the efficiency of the police staff, but rather, the town council wants the police staff to be stationed in a more accommodating environment.

“The main goal is not to improve safety because safety has been pretty good both in UNC as well as in the town,” Parker said.

Instead, the main goal is to ensure that the department has the kinds of facilities to keep up with modern standards, since current conditions aren’t ideal, he said.

Parker said the project is still in its early stages and there are a lot of questions left to be answered.

“This will make things more efficient both financially, in terms of building, as well as operationally,” he said.

Parker said a new building is necessary to house the police staff.

“Our existing police station is in rather poor repair and really needs to be replaced,” he said.

Blue said the idea was discussed by the Chapel Hill Town Council and the UNC Board of Trustees, and both parties are very excited about the possibility of this project.

Dwight Stone, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, said some people were led to believe that UNC Department of Public Safety will join Chapel Hill police in a shared building, but the two will remain separated.

Stone said the University police will remain stationed in the DPS building on campus.

“This is just a Chapel Hill Police Department office that will be built on university land,” he said.

Stone said he thinks this is a good opportunity for the University.

He said the Board of Trustees is always looking for opportunities to develop University property so the money made from the lease can go toward scholarship money and keep tuition low.

“The University has lots of land, so leasing this land is a great way to partner with businesses,” Stone said.

Parker said leasing land from the University may open doors for new government projects.

“We’re evaluating the possibilities of doing some other functions there, like emergency management, housing the parks and recreation department and the fire department administrative staff,” Parker said.

city@dailytarheel.com

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