Elected officials question police department's leadership

Too much crime and not enough police officers…

People upset in Salisbury are telling FOX 46 Charlotte they want to see the Rowan County Sheriff's Office take over the police department.

The Rowan County Sheriff plans to address commissioners on Monday, presenting a plan that might bring more deputies to embed themselves in high-crime areas. Some say it’s a job the Salisbury Police Department should be doing, but right now, simply cannot.

A’yanna Allen, 7, was shot and killed in December. Her killer is still at large. The month before an officer shot and killed Ferguson Laurent Jr. as detectives entered his home, announced, and he fired at those officers.

“My phone rings every night until 2 a.m. about gunshots. I get calls about gun shots every night,” City Council member Kenny Hardin said.

Hardin has marched these streets with other activists for decades before taking office.

“There is a lack of trust between the black community and the police department. It didn’t just start last year, this is historical,” Hardin said.

The Salisbury Police Department is struggling to find officers. Right now it’s down 25 percent. It’s had 11 homicides since 2016 and only four have been cleared.

County Commissioner Craig Pierce is floating the idea of the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office temporarily taking over Salisbury P.D.

“The crime rate continues to escalate, the shootings continue to escalate," Pierce said.

“I’m not saying to do this to slap Salisbury in the face. I’m just saying, we’ve got an issue that they’re not addressing with the fullest intent that I think needs to be, so I’m looking at all options. What we can do to stem the tide of the crime rate that we’re dealing with in Salisbury,” Pierce said.

The City responded to FOX 46 Charlotte, saying it can’t even fathom the idea of the police department handing over the reins to the sheriff’s office.

“Talk to the merger has really affected the morale of our police departments and they certainly don’t deserve that," Linda McElroy said.

As it stands, the sheriff’s office is supplying the department with extra manpower and funding. Most agree something needs to be done to fight this crime surge. The question is how to go about it.

“We have some challenges, we know that," McElroy added.

Ultimately, Salisbury City Council would have to decide if it wanted to move further with any action involving a merger.