Criminal Justice Reform Task Force Meets For 1st Time

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s recently-formed Criminal Justice Reform task force met for the first time this month to begin exploring the city’s police department policies and foster an open relationship with its citizens.

The criminal justice reform task force met last week to begin forming goals for the group going forward. The task force, made up of a cross-section of Salisbury citizens, during its first meeting, agreed on policies for the group’s ultimate recommendations and to learn more about the structure of the Salisbury Police Department (SPD), its operations and its commitment to community policing.

The initial meeting laid the foundation on which the task force will work on the ultimate goal of building a stronger sense of trust and understanding between the police department and the community. The appointed task force members were joined at the first meeting by officials from the City of Salisbury, the SPD and Tri-County Mediation.

Acting in an advisory capacity, members of the task force will serve to foster relationships among the community and its police department by helping to ensure law enforcement remains receptive to the concerns of its citizens they serve and protect. After reviewing the department’s many protocols and policies, members of the task force will procedural recommendations to the Mayor and Chief of Police. For her part, SPD Chief Barbara Duncan welcomes the exercise.

“SPD is eager to work with the task force to help them better understand our procedures and operations, as well as listen to their concerns, consider their recommendations and to build trust between our department and the members of the community which we proudly serve,” she said.

City Administrator Julia Glanz said the criminal justice reform task force was formed recently in response to a similar trend around the country for a closer review of relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve and protect.

“We have a lot of ground to cover in just one year, but the events that have occurred nationwide over the past few months make the urgency of the work this task force is doing even more apparent,” she said. “I have great confidence in the extremely dedicated group of people who have stepped up to represent our community on the criminal justice reform task force and I look forward to working with them.”

The task force convenes via Zoom on the second Tuesday of each month and all meetings are open to the public.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.