Kenny Hardin, Salisbury City Councilman
♦ Nearly a week ago, Carolyn Logan contacted me and asked if I would attend a meetimg with the Salisbury Police Chief. The City’s Public Information Officer was later added to the meeting. I didn’t think Ms. McElroy’s presence could add any value, so I questioned this in a series of emails to the City Manager. I asked why she would be involved and not another law enforcement official. I explained that the PIO could not offer any law enforcement guidance or information nor could she respond to any law enforcement questions or concerns. The local print paper even saw fit to write a pointless front page article that had no relevance to the original intent of the meeting.
Almost a week later, I attended a very productive 90 minute meeting Wednesday afternoon with Ms. Logan, Chief Jerry Stokes and Capt. Melonie Thompson. I was very impressed with Ms. Logan’s preparedness and her no nonsense approach to the meeting. She was unapologetic in the direct manner in which she asked questions about the safety and security of the community and the operational efficiency of the Police Department. Capt. Thompson brought a strong sense of genuine concern to the discussion, a deep knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of the West End, and a familiarity and solid relationship with many of the residents. Her presence at the meeting was valuable to its positive outcome.
Carolyn Logan (left), Chief Jerry Stokes (middle), and Capt. Melonie Thompson (left):
I was equally impressed with the way Chief Stokes and Captain Thompson responded to every question and addressed them without hesitation or defensiveness. They came prepared with informational handouts on current training modules in place, provided improvement data, spoke honestly about challenges they’re currently facing and acknowledged historical issues that have led to mistrust and division with the community.
It was a very collaborative spirit in the room as strategies and solutions to address the gun violence were discussed. The meeting ended on a positive note with each person feeling as if they were heard and afforded the opportunity to share their views, perceptions, and positions. Overall, it was a very productive meeting and a good first step in bridging divides and restoring trust.
During the meeting, we discussed strategies, that if implemented, would help in reducing the gun violence and overall crime. Some of the suggestions were a bit unique and out of the norm while others were a little less. The Chief was rightly concerned about ensuring that the rights of citizens would not be infringed upon as well as ensuring any strategies implemented would not be met with mass resistance and pushback from the community.
I told the Chief that instead of trying to appease any person or group or wasting time trying to identify a singular leader, let’s create a strong, viable legal action plan that is disseminated with respect to the overall citizenry and ensure its implemented consistently. I felt if people were opposed to any strategies, then they were part of the problem.
Ms. Logan and I agreed with the Chief’s concerns, but felt we were at such a critical point, we couldn’t pick and choose degrees of enforcement. Ms. Logan stressed the point that it may take radical ideas to curb the violence because the Seniors and children should not have to live with the threat of being shot.
I shared that it couldn’t just be enforcement alone and other preventive measures would have to be used in tandem with police efforts . Chief Stokes followed up with me today that he spoke with the DA about the legality of a strategy we discussed. I appreciate his due diligence on following up so quickly. This indicated a sense of genuine concern.
I have a question for the Community and would like any constructive response to my email, email@example.com:
What are some specific/detailed prevention and enforcement strategies/solutions you would suggest the City implement to address the gun violence and crime?