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BHI names new public safety chief

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BALD HEAD ISLAND, NC (WWAY) -- Caroline Mitchell, Ph.D. has been named the new Director of Public Safety for the Village of Bald Head Island. She is expected to assume her duties on February 6.

Dr. Mitchell was selected because of her broad background in the three disciplines of Public Safety -- Law Enforcement, Emergency Medicine and Fire. In particular, her emergency management experience (including hurricane relief and recovery), wildland fire training, emergency medicine and her academic training combine to position Caroline well to lead the BHI department toward more fully integrated Public Safety. The Public Safety concept is important for Bald Head Island because of its remote location and reliance on a small team of highly trained officers who can handle any type of emergency.

"Caroline's practical/operational experiences combined with her expertise as a teacher/trainer in criminal justice, law enforcement and emergency management make her uniquely qualified," BHI Village Manager Calvin Peck said.

Currently an Associate Professor of Sociology at Western State Colorado University, Caroline Mitchell teaches courses in criminal justice and emergency management. Caroline has been instrumental in Western Colorado’s development of a law enforcement academy. In addition to her regular duties at the University, Caroline is a program evaluator for a federally funded program on responsible alcohol use, supervises criminal justice interns who work for the National Parks Law Enforcement program and other agencies, and has led hurricane relief trips following Katrina and Sandy.

While living in Colorado, Caroline has dedicated herself to serving her community, initially with the Ohio City Volunteer Fire Department through which she was inspired to take the local EMT course. With that certification she has spent five years actively involved in EMS trainings, recruiting students for courses, and most recently working as an EMT with the Gunnison Valley Health-EMS department. She advanced her training to the EMT-IV level and is expected to complete her Paramedic training by the end of January. Prior to moving to Gunnison, Caroline has spent time in South Dakota where she was a sworn law enforcement officer while completing her education, and on the East Coast where she grew up. Caroline enjoys the many offerings of small, rural towns and believes they are enjoyable and exciting places to live and work. While not at work, Caroline enjoys spending time outdoors, playing with her dogs, playing hockey and road biking.

The Village of Bald Head Island transitioned from traditional fire, EMS and police services in 2009 when it created its Public Safety Department – one of the few departments of its kind in the state. Integrated Public Safety departments are common in other areas of the country and are particularly well-suited for small, remote areas. With approximately 20 officers who are cross-trained to handle any emergency, the Public Safety officers on Bald Head Island contribute to making the Island a one of a kind destination.

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