NAACP holds forum for new police chief hire, offers update on Cure Violence

Published 12:01 am Sunday, March 5, 2023

SALISBURY — The city of Salisbury is in the process of hiring a new chief of police, and to find the right candidate, officials are making sure they hear what kind of qualities the public wants.

The Salisbury-Rowan NAACP hosted a community forum on Thursday night at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church, where residents learned from City Manager Jim Greene about the hiring procedures and timeline for getting a new chief. Members of the public offered their suggestions about the characteristics they envision the ideal person having. These include making sure the right candidate lives within city limits and is active in the community. They also stressed the applicants should be of diverse backgrounds.

As city manager, Greene said it is his decision to pick the new chief, but he isn’t taking this duty lightly. He is working with Salisbury officials, city council members and hiring advisers to get their input.

“Having someone from the law enforcement community that can help us in the recruitment and the evaluation of this process is very important,” Greene said.

He described all of the feedback as “tremendous.” Another meeting will be held later this month and hosted by the police chief advisory board. Advertising for the chief of police position will be in April.

Besides the hiring process, Capt. P.J. Smith detailed efforts to halt gun violence in Salisbury and what solutions they have. Some suggested having systems set in place so police officers aren’t spread so thin across the city and how volunteers should offer to spend time with youngsters who need more support.

City council member Anthony Smith was at the forum to share his opinions and said he liked all the ideas offered about stopping gun violence in the area.

“I can tell people are really thinking about it. I can tell people are doing their own analysis, their own critical thinking about it. To hear that is hopeful for me,” Smith said.

Smith also gave an update on how things are progressing with Cure Violence. Salisbury is finishing the assessment stage and awaiting a report from Cure Violence Global. In a week or two, Salisbury will receive the assessment report, go over it with Cure Violence officials and then hold stakeholder sessions to get suggestions from the public.

Jeffrey Sharp, a local NAACP member, said he was pleased with what he heard at the forum. He was eager to discuss the hiring of the new police chief, but appreciated how the topic switched to what Salisbury can do to end gun violence.

“I wanted to get in early on the information about the selection process for the new chief of police. … I feel like it’s important to get that moving forward to get the right person here for our community,” Sharp said. “The discussion turned toward what members of the community can do to improve public safety and the overall situations that we find ourselves in and thought that was a very positive turn.”