Salisbury Police group gets back to meeting with the public, gives updates

Published 12:06 am Friday, April 7, 2023

SALISBURY — After not meeting in person for three years due to COVID, the Salisbury Police Department has decided to re-organize its Salisbury Neighborhood Action Group (SNAG) in order to meet with citizens face to face to let them know what is going on around the city and to learn about any issues that need to be addressed.

SNAG held its second meeting on Wednesday morning to go over its new interactive map that is available on the department’s website. The map allows people to type in their address to see which officers are assigned to their area. Emails can be sent to those same officers if any problems arise. Initially created several years ago, the map was largely ignored until it was recently adjusted with up-to-date officer information.

“Obviously, we wanted the community to be able to know who their officers are. We started a campaign probably two or three years ago, ‘Every neighborhood has a cop, every cop has a neighborhood.’ COVID kind of stopped that and we reinvigorated it just now,” interim Police Chief Brian Stallings said.

Those in attendance had the chance to personally ask police officers about what is being done and what they can do to help mitigate crime. General updates were given regarding patrols, special investigations and code enforcement. One of the other announcements was that by end of the year, the department expects to be fully staffed again.

While citizens want open communication from the department, officers also stressed that people need to let them know of anything they see so they can investigate it in a timely fashion.

Kristin Stauffer lives in Eagle Heights and came to the SNAG meeting to bring awareness of what is happening in her neighborhood. After hearing what the police had to say, she felt reassured that steps were genuinely being taken.

“More people should come out to the SNAG meetings. It would be more helpful if they could pinpoint more neighborhoods to help,” Stauffer said. “I like the in-person meetings because you feel somebody’s actually listening to you and they can answer more questions that you might not have been able to ask online.”

Lt. Koula Black spoke at both the SNAG meeting and with the Neighborhood Leaders Alliance later in the afternoon. She gave an update on SNAG and how they will be having meetings again on the first Wednesday of each month. Black wants the police department to have more of a presence in these kind of organizations instead having large gatherings.

“I thought that maybe we could streamline it to make sure we’re getting, at least on our end, all of the information that people are requesting and needing,” Black said.

In the near future, Black would like the department’s diversity,
equity and inclusion task force to meet with communities, expand their other projects and to have “more connectivity” amongst citizens and officers. When that happens, a dialogue can start so the department can get a real sense on how to tackle crime.

“I think it’s really important that we are touching every avenue and every area of the city. That we’re not just meeting these people who work here and do these things or this age group or anything like that,” Black said “We want to make sure we’re touching everybody and being able to get input from everyone everywhere.”