Perdue to attend Salisbury public safety summit
By Mark Wineka
Salisbury will be the host Aug. 28 for a statewide summit on public safety.
The summit, called “Seamless Solutions to Urban Crime,” will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Salisbury Station on Depot Street.
Gov. Bev Perdue is expected to attend, along with N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety Secretary Reuben Young and N.C. Department of Correction Secretary Alvin Keller.
Salisbury Mayor Susan Kluttz said the day’s focus will be on gang violence and an overburdened court system.
The event is part of a two-day annual meeting of the N.C. Metropolitan Mayors’ Coalition, which will hold a similar summit on transportation issues Aug. 27 in Concord.
The mayors’ group will invite more than 200 key players in public safety issues statewide, including sheriffs, district court judges, district attorneys, mayors, city managers, police chiefs, experts in the field, relevant state agencies, school resource officers, members of the Governor’s Crime Commission and others.
Kluttz will be traveling to Raleigh Wednesday with Salisbury Police Chief Mark Wilhelm and Assistant to the City Manager Doug Paris to help in the planning for the public safety summit.
“It will be big, and we’re excited about it,” Kluttz said Monday. “… This is the appropriate place for it in the state.”
Kluttz said no other community in North Carolina is as aware as Salisbury of gang problems or been more active in trying to develop youth initiatives.
A Rowan County teenager and suspected gang member awaits trial for the March 2007 shooting death of 13-year-old Treasure Feamster, who was attending a party at the J.C. Price American Legion building and was caught in a confrontation between gangs as the crowd dispersed.
The shooting served as a wake-up call to the city of Salisbury about local gang violence. It became an issue Kluttz has focused on as a member of the mayors’ coalition.
Last year the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety reported 1,446 active gangs in 64 counties across the state.
At the summit, the Metropolitan Mayors’ Coalition will try to develop a process and schedule for solutions that will culminate in the spring with the announcement of a public safety agenda and action plan.
In addition, it will be launching a new, interactive Web site at the meeting to encourage issue advocacy and the online exchange of ideas.
The site will include a Twitter feed and breaking news posts, allowing interested parties to stay informed and involved.
Tickets for the “Seamless Solutions to Urban Crime” summit may be purchased in advance for $25 and will be available at the door for $35. To register, visit www.ncmetromayors.com.
The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition is comprised of mayors from North Carolina’s 26 biggest cities and focuses on transportation, public safety and the economy.
The organization was founded in 2001 around transit issues by a group of 15 mayors across North Carolina.