10 to Watch: Police Chief Jerry Stokes
SALISBURY — Nearly six months ago Jerry Stokes was sworn in as the city of Salisbury’s police chief at a time when the city was dealing with a number of unsolved murders, broken relations with the black community and growing personnel shortages.
Stokes has come in and begun working on a restructuring plan that would allow more “community-based, problem-oriented policing strategies.” He has ideas that he believes will help build community trust, but many of his plans have not yet been able to come to fruition because of a large number of vacancies within the department.
He’s had to make some tough decisions, particularly in staffing changes as well as personnel and training.
Stokes said one of his top priorities is recruiting new officers. Even before Stokes’ arrival, the police department had lost officers to bigger agencies, officer misconduct and some through retirement. The department currently has 16 vacancies.
Stokes has been in law enforcement over 30 years and is an advocate of partnering with the community in an effort to create change.
He has said his goal isn’t just to have an officer walk a beat, but to develop a relationship with the community.
He has a degree in criminal justice from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and a graduate certificate in local government management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.
He also has a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University.
— Shavonne Walker
Name: Jerry Stokes