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Salisbury Police looking to hire, fill vacancies

By Shavonne Walker

shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

In recent years, the city of Salisbury has lost several police officers to bigger agencies and others under a cloud of misconduct and other troubling issues. But, city and police officials say they are actively recruiting men and women to fill 11 vacancies at the Salisbury Police Department.

The city is currently looking to hire a new chief, officials say, before July 1. The vacancy came following the November resignation of Police Chief Rory Collins. Collins, who became chief in 2010, officially retired Dec. 31, at which time Capt. Brian Stallings was named interim chief.

Collins cited stress as a large part of his decision to retire after 25 years in law enforcement.

A full department includes 81 sworn positions and, as of Monday, the police department has 70 positions.

According to numbers provided to the Post by the Salisbury Police Department, the positions are as follows:

• Patrol division, 44 designated positions, short five

• Police Interdiction Team (PIT), 10 designated positions, short five

However, one of the five members of PIT is on military leave at this time, said Police Capt. Shelia Lingle.

Lingle said there is also personnel assigned to the patrol unit until more officers are hired for that division.

• Drug Unit, four designated positions, short one

• Criminal Investigations, nine designated positions, short two

The following positions have been filled:

• Crime Scene Investigator (CSI), one

• School Resource Officer (SRO), three

• Community Services — Victim Advocate/Youth Crime Prevention/Community Relations, three

• Downtown Officer, one

• Captains, three

• Administrative Lieutenant, one

Of the officers in the police department, 16 are female and 15 are minorities.

Citizens have said they want to see diversity within the police department.

Lingle said there are three new officers who are in the process of being hired by the city. Those three officers are undergoing field training and will join the patrol unit in April.

She also said the department has a recruitment manager, Mike Neely, who is not a sworn officer, but is supervised by police Lt. Lee Walker. Neely recruits both civilian and sworn officers.

Lingle said Neely not only recruits at job fairs and area colleges, but at Basic Law Enforcement Training courses (BLET). After all, those students enrolled in BLET are future law enforcement officers, she said.

Eligibility Requirements:
• U.S. citizen who is at least 21
• High school diploma or GED
• No felony convictions and certain misdemeanors
• Must pass a thorough background check
• Must pass a drug screen, psychological review/medical exam
• Must have valid driver’s license and good driving record
• Meets state requirements for law enforcement officers
The police department allows potential candidates the opportunity to take a test at the Salisbury Police Department as the first step in the hiring process. The test is general knowledge and lasts about two hours.
The test is available at 9 a.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. No appointment is necessary to take the test.
The candidates are notified of their results within 24 hours of taking the test. If a candidate passes the initial test, they may proceed with the completion of an application.

City Manager Lane Bailey has said the police department’s vacancies are the largest area of vacancies within the city.

The city has decided since there are vacancies to use some of the money that would have been used for police officers’ salaries to increase pay within the department, including the starting pay for incoming officers.
Pay increases:
• Police Officer I was considered Grade 15 and paid a salary of $32,594.13. The position will be considered Grade 16 and be paid $34,223.83.
• Police Officer II was grade 16 and paid a salary of $34,223.83. The position will be considered Grade 17 and be paid $35,935.03.
• Master Police Officer remains as pay Grade 18 and will be paid a salary of $37,731.77 instead of the former paid salary of $35,935.03.
• Corporal rank was reviewed and moved into a pay Grade of 19 to a new salary of $39,618.37.
• Sergeant was considered Grade 20 and paid a salary of $41,599.29. The position will be considered Grade 21 and paid $43,679.25.
The city also has built-in educational incentives, including a person with an associate’s degree will receive an added $1,000 to his or her salary, a bachelor’s degree adds $2,000 and a master’s degree will add $2,500 to a salary.
After changing to the new pay grades, any employee who is below the new pay grade minimum will need to be adjusted, city officials said.
The officers who turned in official transcripts will be awarded the educational incentive.
City officials say they reviewed each employee and looked at their years of service, overall performance, and current rank in differentiating high performers and low performers, all disciplinary actions (in the last few years) was taken into considerations.
After implementing the recommendations, every sworn officer will receive an adjustment.
The average salary increase is $2,923.32.
To apply with the police department, contact Recruitment Manager Mike Neely at 704-638-2089 or via email at gneel@salisburync.gov for more details.

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