Salisbury rewarded with special grant for Police Department's outreach efforts

Salisbury Independent
Posted 9/28/21

Salisbury is just one of three municipalities in the nation to receive a grant that will help its police officers continue its efforts to create a culture where community-oriented police activity is …

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Salisbury rewarded with special grant for Police Department's outreach efforts

Zahniya Hughes of Salisbury gets help with her helmet from Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan at Doverdale Park in Salisbury for a scrimmage in 2019. City police officers have used sporting events to work with youngsters in Salisbury neighborhoods.
Zahniya Hughes of Salisbury gets help with her helmet from Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan at Doverdale Park in Salisbury for a scrimmage in 2019. City police officers have used sporting events to work with youngsters in Salisbury neighborhoods.
Salisbury Independent File Photo
Posted

Salisbury is just one of three municipalities in the nation to receive a grant that will help its police officers continue its efforts to create a culture where community-oriented police activity is central to their efforts.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors this week announced the 2021 recipients of Police Reform and Racial Justice Grants, recognizing Dallas, Albuquerque and Salisbury as cities that have engaged in revolutionary programs.

American mayors have been at the forefront of efforts to increase racial justice, and each of the recognized cities will be awarded a grant to support police reform policies and initiatives that have been implemented in their communities. 

Salisbury is the recipient of the Small City Award and will receive $75,000. The Mayors Conference recognized the Salisbury Police Mental Health Collaborative Partnership, which aims to train police officers on the “duty to intervene,” as well as how to effectively and safely de-escalate situations.

The grant money will be used to continue implementing this training to create a community-oriented police department culture.

At the Mayors Conference winter meeting in January, Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President & Chief External Engagement Officer for Target department stores, announced the creation of a two-year, $700,000 Police Reform and Racial Justice Grant Program.

This national partnership aims to identify, support and promote police policies and practices in cities shown to be most effective in advancing the goal of justice for all residents.

Winners of these grants – one each for a large, mid-size, and small city – are being recognized for their innovative approaches to tackling these critical issues.

Dallas was recognized for its use of partnerships with faith-based leaders, community activists, education stakeholders and neighborhood groups to create policing that is responsible, equitable, accountable and legitimate.

Albuquerque was lauded for creating a third branch of the city's first-responder system, a department that follows a public health model with civilian-led response.

“Salisbury has been at the forefront of ensuring our residents are safe and our police officers are responsive to concerns while protecting the most vulnerable in our community,” said Salisbury Mayor Jake Day.

“This monumental charge is more than any small city could shoulder on its own and that is why I am ecstatic that the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Target have selected Salisbury for this important award, enabling a new effort to provide first response mental health services alongside our police officers.

“We are proud to be in this very small fraternity of cities that are innovating and leading the way and we are grateful to the Conference and Target for putting their faith in the City of Salisbury and our Police Department,” he said.

Summary descriptions of the winning programs, along with the balance of the 36 programs submitted by cities in the grant competition, have been posted on the Conference of Mayors website under the Center for Compassionate and Equitable Cities. The goal is to share with all mayors information on the approaches to police reform being taken or planned by their colleagues throughout the nation.

The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus, an advocacy group that has been pushing for changes in police activities, applauded the work Salisbury has done to secure the grant.

“This program shows that reforming our broken police and criminal justice system and supporting law enforcement officers are not mutually exclusive issues,” the group said in a statement released Tuesday.

“We hope the city of Salisbury’s work to implement police reform and get our police much-needed support by reducing their unattainable workload will be recreated and funded across the Shore, state and country.” 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.