A crowd of law enforcement officers, elected officials, and other well wishers packed Burlington’s Paramount Theater on Friday afternoon to see Brian Long sworn in as the city’s new chief of police.
A native of Burlington who has served some 26 years on the city’s police force, Long was actually installed as the city’s new police chief last Tuesday, although his ceremonial oath was postponed until Friday due to a medical emergency in Long’s immediate family.
It may, therefore, not have been entirely coincidental that the theme of family emerged as a recurring motif throughout the new police chief’s inauguration.
During the actual ceremony, Long was accompanied by his three daughters – Amanda, Brianna, and Delaney – as he was sworn in to office by local district court judge Katie Overby. Long’s wife Melissa also briefly mounted the stage to pin her husband’s insignia on his lapel.
Meanwhile, other members of the Long clan were front and center in the theater’s audience as Long reflected on the significance of family in his formal address immediately after his oath.
“I’ve had family support since I was very young and my dad dropped me off on a downhill slope [to learn how to ride] on a cycle,” the new police chief recalled.
During his remarks, Long also recognized his late father-in-law Bill Gregory, who was himself a member of Burlington’s police force and once occupied the very same office that his son-in-law later inherited as an assistant police chief.
In the meantime, the city’s new chief of police paid tribute to his broader family of law enforcement professionals, which turned out en masse for his ceremonial oath. Among those present was Long’s immediate predecessor Jeff Smythe as well as two of the city’s other retired police chiefs – Mike Williams and John Glenn. Also on hand were many of the top brass from the local sheriff’s office, including sheriff Terry Johnson and his chief deputy Cliff Parker, who delivered the closing remarks at the ceremony.
Parker told the crowd that he recently learned that he and Long were distantly related – as fourth or fifth cousins he went on to recall. But as remote as their familial connection may be, he assured the audience that his own agency would have a close working relationship with the police department under Long’s leadership.
“Knowing Chief Long’s heart for collaboration, I know we have very good days ahead of us,” the sheriff’s chief deputy said. “My sheriff also likes this man, so I’m under orders to work with him.”
See interview with Long in October 28, 2021 edition of The Alamance News: https://alamancenews.com/new-police-chief-is-home-grown/