Police chief candidates for Salisbury narrowed to 3

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

By Amanda Raymond


SALISBURY — The candidate list for the new Salisbury police chief has been narrowed down to three finalists.

At Tuesday’s Salisbury City Council meeting, City Manager Lane Bailey said the three police chief candidates will be coming into the area later this month to be further evaluated for the position.

Bailey said the police chief candidates were from a “diverse pool” who have been involved in larger organizations where they held leadership positions.

“I think they bring diverse experience, and I’m excited about the quality of finalists that we have,” he said.

The candidates are from in and out of state.

Bailey said he still hopes to make a final decision on the new police chief by the end of this fiscal year, which is the end of June.

Later in the meeting during public comment, owners of Bounce City said they felt “attacked” by the media and a city council member.

Two teens told police that they were shot in front of Bounce City at 120 N. Church St. on Sunday. The business was hosting a prom after party for youth 19 and younger that night.

Guanah Davis said he and his wife opened the business to provide a “safe haven” for children. He said they have received good feedback from the community.

“Our business has been attacked,” Davis said. “It’s been attacked by the media with false reports of shooting, which has never occurred at Bounce City, in Bounce City.”

Jehan Davis, attorney and owner of the business, said the business was “attacked” by a blog and Councilman Kenny Hardin.

Davis said Hardin conducted a “smear and cyber-bullying campaign.”

“I’m deeply troubled by Councilman Hardin’s actions as he has engaged in a smear campaign and he has placed his own badge of City Council, his name tag, and gone on these Facebook rants,” she said.

Davis said Hardin’s Facebook comments were irresponsible because he did not contact Bounce City.

“Mr. Hardin owes Bounce City, the women he offended in the social media post and his fellow councilmen and also the city of Salisbury and apology,” she said. “Respectfully, I am requesting that Councilman Hardin cease and desist your media attack on Bounce City or I will have no choice but to proceed with a more adversarial approach.”

She also asked Hardin’s comments to be investigated because she said they went against the city’s code of ethics.

In the Facebook comment Davis read to the council, Hardin wrote that he did not care about the business or anyone involved with it. He also used curse words in the comments.

Hardin responded to the comments later in the meeting.

“I appreciate Mr. Davis and attorney Davis. I just wish the passion that she displayed was put more into fixing the issues surrounding the area around her business,” he said.

Hardin said he would not apologize for anything he says while speaking out against violence and crime in the city.

“My concern is if it is a safe haven for children as they are advertising … on their website, that’s my expectation,” he said.

Hardin said he did not feel that he should be held to a different standard than other residents in the community.

Hardin said he was responding to people on Facebook who thought the incident was a racial issue and said that the city was trying to shut down black-owned businesses.

Jehan Davis said Hardin called for Bounce City’s business license to be suspended. Hardin said he suggested the temporary suspension of the license so that the business could take a pause to figure out what was going on in the area.

“What it has manifested into is, ‘He’s trying to shut down a black business.’ No, I’m trying to shut down crime and violence,” he said.

Davis and Hardin said they would both be willing to meet and discuss the issue.

Also during public comment, seven people thanked the mayor and council for proclaiming June 25 as Salisbury Pride Day.

Jerry Shelby spoke again against the median at the intersection of Jake Alexander Boulevard South and Morlan Park Road. He asked the city to instead install street lights and paint turn lanes.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved the consent agenda, which included:
    • Approval of a $227,000 contract with Interstate Roofing for roof replacements at the Civic Center, West End Business Center and Miller Center.
    • Adoption of an ordinance to temporarily close North Main Street between Innes Street and Kerr Street for the Slide the City event on July 9 from 4 a.m. to 11:50 p.m.
  • Heard a presentation from Jason Walker from the North Carolina Forest Service about Salisbury winning the 2015 Tree City USA Award, making 2015 the 30th year Salisbury has been a Tree City USA.
  • Heard a presentation from Sam Foust from the Salisbury Housing Authority about a Homeless Veterans Task Force initiative.
  • Approved a special use permit for a bar at 612 S. Main St.
  • Approved the renaming of streets along the South Main Street Bridge overpass.
  • Made appointments to various boards and commissions.
  • Received a street paving report from Craig Powers, stormwater utility manager.
  • Went into closed session to discuss an economic development matter.

The mayor proclaimed:

  • May 14, 2016 as Catawba College Day.
  • May 14, 2016 as Rowan Blues and Jazz Society Day.
  • May 30, 2016 as Veterans Memorial Day.
  • May 2016 as Mental Health Month.

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.