Salisbury Police Chief Jerome “Jerry” Stokes announced his intention to retire from the city of Salisbury effective, Saturday, Dec. 31. He was hired to lead the Salisbury Police Department (SPD) in July 2016 after a 32-year career with the Lynchburg, Va. Police Department.
“I commend Chief Stokes for nearly 40 years of dedicated and professional service in local government law enforcement,” said Salisbury City Manager Jim Greene. “He is an effective leader, and in the six-plus years of serving as police chief, he has built an excellent team, introduced new technology, and helped make Salisbury a safer community. I thank Chief Stokes for his commitment to our community and our police department.”
“After more than six years as the chief of the Salisbury Police Department, I can truly say that my time here has been the pinnacle of a long career and the most satisfying time in my service as a police officer,” said Chief Stokes. “I am grateful to former City Manager Lane Bailey for giving me the opportunity to serve this wonderful community as chief. I have built a number of relationships with many people in the Salisbury area law enforcement profession and community that will forever remain a valued part of my time here. I have found the officers who serve the Salisbury Police Department to be the most professional and dedicated group I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I will miss their comradery and friendship. I am certain they have the strength to continue providing Salisbury honorable service and feel the future for Salisbury Police Department is a bright one. My hope is that it will be said of my time here ‘well done good and faithful servant.’”
Chief Stokes was directly responsible for a number of initiatives that assisted in the city’s 20-year-low in violent crime in 2019 and 2020. Those initiatives include:
- Submitting SPD into a federal gun crime reduction program, and securing federal grant funds to assist in crime reduction strategies
- Enhancing the SPD training program and developing staff skills to meet the challenges of modern law enforcement in areas such as de-escalation, fair and bias-free policing, cultural awareness, basic police officer skills, and leadership development
- Enhancing the SPD community policing and problem-solving efforts by building relationships within the community, including the NAACP Cease Fire, Chief’s Advisory Board, Salisbury Police Foundation, and others
Stokes holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in public administration from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., and a graduate certificate in local government management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va. He is a graduate of Leadership Rowan and has been recognized by the local Sons of the Revolution chapter, the Thelma Smith Foundation, Cornerstone Church, and Civitan Club for community service.
Greene has named Deputy Chief Brian Stallings as interim police chief, effective Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.
“I appreciate Brian Stallings’s willingness to serve as Interim Police Chief beginning January 1,” added Greene. “Brian currently serves as Deputy Police Chief and has been with Salisbury Police Department since 1996. I am confident that Deputy Chief Stallings will continue to provide leadership and support for the department and community.”
A comprehensive search for a new permanent police chief will begin in early 2023, following engagement sessions with officers, community members and staff.