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'Fully deserving of this award': Jun Gim selected as CHPD Officer of the Year

Photo contributed by Alex Carrasquillo.

When Jun Gim’s shift ends at 6 p.m. at the Chapel Hill Police Department on Jan. 22, he won't be getting ready to go home. Instead he will be staying late, cooking tacos for the entire night shift team.

It's not the first time he's cooked for the night shift. Last time, he made kimchi.

So, officer Aspen Degler said when the department's Officer of the Year recipient was announced, Gim's selection made complete sense.

Gim, who has been with CHPD for six years, has a sense of commitment to his work and reliability that makes him stand out, assistant chief of police Paul Bell said.

“No matter who it is, no matter what division, he's gonna stay and he's gonna help,” Bell said. “He has no problem leaving late if that's what is needed to help somebody out. He has skipped lunch if that means he needs to help somebody out. And he does it all with a smile, with positive, good energy.“

Gim is also a very dedicated husband and father, Bell said. Gim has made many adjustments in his career to care for his family.

Gim spent the first 14 years of his career as a news producer in New York and began training to become an officer in October 2017.

“While I was working as a news producer, I've been to a lot of different tragedies, mainly like mass shootings and school shootings and such,” he said. “And every time I hear the interview from the parents of the lost ones, especially the lost children, it really got to me because I got kids of my own, and I just couldn't stand the fact that I'm only always at the end of the story, instead of being in the front and trying to prevent something.”

Starting at 38, Gim was one of the older people in his training class, but Bell said he hit the ground running. Gim was concerned about his physical abilities, but he knew his good intentions were there.

After five and a half years as a patrol officer, Gim moved into his current role as a career progression officer, where he works to train newer members and help them find their place in the department. 

Degler, one of Gim's former trainees, said his patience and support helped her throughout the training process. During shifts with him, she felt comfortable because of the respect Gim showed her.  Degler said Gim also continues to encourage her to go after assignments that she feels nervous about.

“He was just so willing to be understanding to the victim or even the offender, what they were going through, what their feelings were," she said. “He was always willing to let anyone talk about what was going on. He heard every side of the situation. And I truthfully feel like he went infinity and beyond on most of the calls.”

Degler is looking to become a field trainer within the next year, and she said she plans to emulate Gim's characteristics in her work. 

Though Degler’s training is over, she said Gim still checks in on her and tells her she can call him anytime she needs help. Even now, when Degler is on a night shift and is unsure about a situation, she calls him, and she says he always picks up.

"I had several other field trainers — when they ask, 'Who did I learn this from,' or, 'How was my field training experience,' I always tell them the person I learned the most from, the one that I credit everything to for the officer that I am today is Gim," she said. "He always cracks up and he's like, 'I didn't do that much,' but I think he's fully deserving of this award."

@DTHCityState |

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