Salisbury police chief announces retirement
By Shelley Smithssmith@salisburypost.com
Salisbury Police Chief Mark Wilhelm will retire at the end of the year, ending a nearly 31-year career in law enforcement with the Salisbury Police Department.
“Even though I am retiring, I will always feel like I am a part of the Salisbury Police Department and a part of the city workforce,” Wilhelm stated in his retirement letter.
Wilhelm said the choice to retire was a long and hard one, claiming Salisbury to be the best city in the state of North Carolina.
Wilhelm started his career with the Salisbury Police Department in February of 1979 straight out of college, working as a patrol officer.
“I have never regretted for one minute my decision to accept employment with the city of Salisbury,” he said. “In addition to working with the best city in the state, I have had the opportunity to be a part of and to lead the best police department in the state.”
“The Salisbury Police Department and its employees are second to none and I can accept no credit for this. It has always been this way and always will be because of the hard work and dedication of the men and women who make up the department.”
Wilhelm called himself “blessed” to work with and for such wonderful people.
“I could not ask for more support from you, the management team, nor the City Council than I have received over my career,” he said. “In addition to all of this, I have to include the citizens themselves. Salisbury is very fortunate to have such a diverse group of good people living within the corporate limits as well as those outside.”
Wilhelm was named chief in June 2003. He had served as interim chief after former Chief Chris Herring resigned in November 2002 following accusations that he had sexually harassed a female police employee. Wilhelm had been one of four finalists for the chief’s job when Herring was tapped in 1999.
Earlier, in 2002, Wilhelm, then deputy chief of the Salisbury Police Department, ran for sheriff against George Wilhelm. Ironically, the sheriff announced his resignation Monday only a day prior to the chief’s announcement.
Wilhelm is a graduate of West Rowan High School. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
The announcement of Wilhelm’s retirement was made by City Manager David Treme during the Salisbury City Council meeting Tuesday.
Both Treme and Mayor Susan Kluttz said they begged Wilhelm to change his mind about retiring.
“He has been a blessing to our community,” said Treme, who appointed Wilhelm to the post and will be in charge of finding his successor.
Councilman William “Pete” Kennedy requested a national search for the next police chief.