Jill Aryn Schlude, age 39

Deputy Chief of Police, City of Columbia

Number of years with this employer: 10. In current position 1.5

Number of years lived in Boone County: 19 years

What should anyone moving to Columbia know about our great community?

Columbia is a great compromise between a big city and a small town. We have many of the same amenities as a bigger city, such as access to shopping, the arts and sporting events, while still maintaining the feel of a smaller town when it comes to community events, interaction with city government and homegrown festivals.

What is the unique thing you tell people when you are describing our community?

There is a tremendous amount of diversity in just about everything … races, religions, languages, occupations, politics, restaurants, jobs, educational opportunities and on and on. It’s what makes Columbia CoMo.

What is one best-kept secret you know about Columbia?

If you know the city streets as well as I do, I would say the alternate routes you can use to avoid traffic. I selfishly hope those stay a secret.

What do you think makes Columbia such a giving community?

Our community does a great job of collaborating among various organizations, whether government, faith-based or private, to help the people who need it the most. It just seems like the attitude of giving back is woven into the fiber of the community.

What has changed in Columbia in the past three years that you really like?

I have seen a lot more recognition and understanding of the needs of the Police Department by the community. From April 1, 2010, until July 1, 2014, our population has grown by 7.4 percent and doesn’t appear to be slowing, and people felt that. The fact that we had a City Council that unanimously supported putting a tax on a ballot also tells me that our elected officials understand that the need is real, and that is a huge step in the right direction for our community.

What is your favorite fact about Columbia that you would like to share?

Fifty-five percent of people age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher — that is twice the state average! We love to learn in CoMo!

What is the best part about doing business in Columbia?

Since my “business” is public service in the form of law enforcement, I would say the best part is knowing I am part of an organization that exists to help keep this community safe and strives to have a positive impact on the quality of life of every person in Columbia. What we do at CPD impacts everyone in Columbia somehow.

Why do you choose to live here?

I can (usually) get to work in 20 minutes or less, pursue a myriad of educational opportunities, own a home that is reasonably priced, drive to KC or STL in less than two hours (usually) to see relatives, get a Shakespeare’s pizza 365 days a year and help support my family by doing a job that I love. All we need is a Trader Joe’s and it’s pretty much utopia.