Todd Paris, Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney
♦ Dateline December 24th, 2016 (RFP)
Somewhat new Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes flunked in his mission and it’s quite clear that City Manager Lane Bailey has dropped the ball too.
A recent article on Rowan Free Press exposed that the Salisbury Police Department in less than one month fell from 15 officers down to now more than twenty. Four retirements are expected next year.
New Police Chief Jerry Stokes has not:
• Solved a single murder and now the unsolved murders have increased from fourteen to seventeen.
• Solved officer recruitment or retention difficulties, as our police department is now down from 15 to at least twenty officers in the last three weeks. A crisis in leadership? Bad Pay? Overwhelmed by violent crime and property crimes?
• Been able to stop the gang war that currently has killed a seven year old girl in her bed and left many houses riddled by gunfire.
In the patrol division alone, 28 officers now do the job of 44 and the new “no fat cops” policy instituted by Stokes and Bailey has all but prevented lateral transfers from other departments. The pay and benefits are abysmal. People get a little experience under their belts and they are off to a real police department that looks out for its men and women and pays them what they fully deserve in “battle Zone” Salisbury.
The reality is both City Council and Lane Bailey (who hires all employees) have made a bad decision. The money issue in that 3.5M per year is being sucked out of the operating budget to prop up horribly failing Fibrant is just one problem.
The fact remains that no one wants to work for Salisbury Police Department or stay there if they have any other option. It’s a low paid, thankless job and having Zack and Ruth at Salisbury Human Resources and Maggie Blackwell on Council micromanaging the chief of police makes it even worse.
Chief Stokes failed. Lane Bailey failed. Karen, Maggie, and Brian on City Council have failed. The Salisbury Police Department is disentegrating. Good officers deserve better. So does the public. It’s time to drain the Salisbury swamp and rebuild our police department from the top down.
Todd Paris, RFP Staff Writer and Salisbury Attorney at the disintegrating Salisbury Police Department.