The Salisbury Police Department (SPD) will begin a series of in-person conversations with neighbors in various Salisbury communities thanks in part to a $25,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation as part of the energy company’s $1 million pledge to social justice, racial equity in North Carolina.
The first “Cultivating Community Conversations” will be held Thursday, June 9, 5:30 p.m. at Kelsey Scott Park, 1920 Old Wilkesboro Road. There, residents who serve on the Police Chief’s Advisory Board will lead engagement between officers and residents in an open discussion. Food will be served.
“We are excited about reinvigorating the community engagement initiatives that waned during the pandemic,” said Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes. “This will be an opportunity for the SPD to hear from residents about things that concern them in their neighborhoods, what we are doing well, and how we can better serve. The discussion, facilitated by the Police Chief’s Advisory Board members, will help our transparency and accessibility to those we serve and help us direct our efforts toward the community’s expectations. We are very fortunate to have the support of the Duke Energy Foundation who have funded the expenses for this event through a grant.”
“Strong relationships of mutual trust between the community and police agencies are critical to maintaining public safety and a promising community environment,” added Rev. Dr. Roy Dennis, Police Chief’s Advisory Board chair and pastor at Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church. “The opportunities of interaction with community members in a non-enforcement context helps to reduce bias on the part of community members and police officers. “Cultivating Community Conversations” is a great conduit to help us break down personal barriers and overcome stereotypes. The event will display there is a commonality between the community and the police servicing the community.”
SPD is one of 40 organizations across North Carolina selected as a recipient of the Duke Energy Foundation grant.
Representatives from the Department of Justice Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Program also will be present to gather 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.