Salisbury police to hold second Community Conversation event

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022

SALISBURY — Residents will have another chance to chat, face to face, in a positive setting, with members of the Salisbury Police Department Thursday evening at Park Avenue Center.

The department will host its second, in-person “Cultivating Community Conversations” event Thursday, July 28, at 5:30 p.m., at the center, located at 632 Park Avenue. There, residents who serve on the Police Chief’s Advisory Board will lead engagement between officers and residents in an open discussion.

“After a very successful first Community Conversation on June 9, we are eager to hear from more of our neighborhood residents,” said Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes. “We hope everyone in the Park Avenue area will take time to engage with the officers, and help us understand their concerns through productive conversations on Thursday, July 28. We look forward to seeing everyone.”

“There is a reality around police and community that a consistent, proactive presence in conversations is critical to a positive communal relationship,” added Rev. Dr. Roy Dennis, Police Chief’s Advisory Board chair and pastor at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church. “The Cultivating Community Conversation allows the community and police to exchange experiences and ideas. The community concerns and misinformation will not go away without the conversations. The Cultivating Community Conversation is a conduit in a safe space that allows for all voices to be heard. The real-time conversations can and do get shifted from negative into neutral to positive territory. We are blessed by the SPD and Chief’s Advisory Board to have an open and safe conversation in the neighborhood.”

The first community conversation event was held June 9 at Kelsey Scott Park. There, more than 50 residents joined in discussions about patrols, street lighting and youth activities. A representative from the Department of Justice Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program was also on hand to discuss resident feedback on the proposed use of the $800,000 grant for crime prevention, recreational and public space development, and youth programs for the West End.

SPD is one of 40 organizations across North Carolina selected as a recipient of the $25,000 Duke Energy Foundation grant as part of the energy company’s $1 million pledge to social justice, racial equity in North Carolina.