The Burlington Police Department announced Assistant Police Chief Alan Balog will be the department’s next police chief. Balog has been with the department for 11 years and works closely with current Police Chief Brian Long, who is retiring in June. 

His new role was declared May 22. As a Burlington native, Balog said he chose to work in the city where he grew up because he cares immensely about local issues.

“I really cherish the opportunity to help people that I know, communities that I'm very familiar with, that I grew up in and work in every day,” Balog said.

Alan Balog will take over as police chief in June. Photo courtesy of the Burlington Police Department.

Balog has worked in law enforcement for 18 years. In his current role, he oversees patrol, criminal investigations and 911 dispatching. Previously, he served in supervisory roles within the patrol, criminal investigations and professional standards divisions.

He received a bachelor of arts in political science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a master’s in public safety leadership and administration from Arizona State University. 

Burlington police information officer Emily Adkins said Balog will be transitioning into the new role over the next month until current Police Chief Long retires. There were four finalists selected for the position from a pool of applicants from across the country, according to Adkins. Since Balog and Long already work so closely together as chief and assistant chief, Adkins said they will continue working together as normal — with Balog taking on more responsibilities throughout the month. 

“Balog will just kind of insert himself more often, but it's really no different than how they already operate,” Adkins said.

There is not yet a set date for Balog’s public swearing-in ceremony.

As he transitions into his new role, Balog said he is feeling overwhelmingly excited to succeed a person who has been so successful. Balog also said he intends to continue the positive momentum Long has helped create for the department.

One example of a recent community initiative Balog said he wants to expand upon as police chief is the work with the Morrowtown Community Garden, where sometimes Burlington Police Department staff go out to the garden during their lunch breaks to work on the garden and speak with community members.

“That's an effort to create shared time together, where we can just be people and then to make a direct investment in a healthy space that will have the output of food that's good for folks and then a shared area where people can gather and socialize,” Balog said.

Balog said he believes strongly in community-oriented policing. It’s been a staple of the department for 40 years, according to Balog, and he said maintaining it is one of his primary goals.

“The relationships that have developed from that base, they go into the way that we respond to crime, the way that we investigate crime, the way that crime is reported to us,” Balog said. “Because when the public has trust in us, that's developed through those shared encounters. We do better together.”

Continuing his theme of prioritizing community relationships and trust, another one of Balog’s goals as police chief is transparency. Balog said this goal represents internal and external accountability, for the performance of both himself and his officers.

One way the police department stays accountable is by working with the city of Burlington’s community police advisory team. Balog said the team provides them with guidance and advice about the best ways to work with the community. 

“They really see the police department and the police chief individually as having a significant responsibility for unifying people in the community, so that we can work hand-in-hand to create safety together,” Balog said. “That's really where I see myself going forward.”

Balog’s father was a district attorney and a judge. He said having that example growing up gave him a lot of respect for those in law enforcement and policing. In addition to that, he said he has always been drawn toward the opportunity to engage directly with the public, while doing something different every day.

“I see the police profession as having the responsibility to create an environment where people can live their lives and be happy and be really successful,” Balog said.