This week’s Hometown Hero is an experienced officer with the Chapel Hill Police Department, a captain who has extensive experience in public safety disciplines, and a lifelong Tar Heel and UNC alumnus. Jackie Carden has served the Chapel Hill community actively since 1990, working both behind the scenes and in the field.

“Jackie is one of those valued employees who never saw an assignment she wouldn’t take on and excel in,” said Chief Chris Blue. “She retired recently after 26 years with the Town of Chapel Hill, having served in a whole host of roles. That’s the kind of experience and leadership we can’t replace, and that we will sorely miss.”

After graduating from UNC in 1990, Carden joined the CHPD as a public safety officer, before the division split into separate groups to better serve the town. With a long list of experience and credentials backing her up, from firefighting to emergency medical situations, Carden was an obvious choice for a leadership role.

“She served as our Special Events Commander the last four or five years of her career,” said Chief Blue. “Which meant she was sitting in the command post leading all those large-scale events like basketball celebrations and Festifalls. There’s just no substitute for long career experience when you’re managing those high-intensity special events, like Halloween or a Duke/UNC basketball game celebration.”

Carden’s husband retired from the CHPD as a lieutenant some time ago, and Carden has recently joined him in exploring her life in retirement. With her experience managing large crowds and tough situations in the field, Chapel Hill has gained another ordinary citizen with the ability to step up when needed and help make the community a better place to live. With her track record, it’s doubtful that she’ll stay still for long. Thank you, Jackie Carden, for being a Hometown Hero.