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Salisbury Police receive grant for social justice, racial equity training

By Shavonne Potts
shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Police Department plans to put newly received grant funds from the Duke Energy Foundation toward social justice and racial equity training for offices, said Chief Jerry Stokes.

Knowing the department had been awarded $25,000, Stokes said, the agency moved forward with its Fair & Impartial Policing training that all officers have received this month. The funds will also provide another training class in the spring called Procedural Justice.

“We are excited to partner with Duke Energy in providing grant funding to deliver racial equity and bias recognition and avoidance training to all Salisbury police officers,” Stokes said. “This funding will provide us the opportunity to enhance our policing operations and ensure we deliver the most impartial service to the diverse Salisbury community. The training will be foundational and support our ongoing officer skills enhancement efforts, particularly when it comes to policing traditionally marginalized community members.”

Earlier this year, Duke Energy committed to an annual social justice and racial equity grant cycle for at least three years in North Carolina. This is in addition to the more than $1 million the company provided in support of racial equity across all jurisdictions in August, the company said.

“We all have a role and responsibility in advancing justice and equity,” said Stephen De May, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president.

“Duke Energy is committed to creating equal opportunities for the communities we serve, and we’re proud to support organizations already leading this critical work across North Carolina,” De May said.

Salisbury Police Department is one of 40 organizations across North Carolina selected as a recipient of the Duke Energy Foundation grant.

Stokes said the department was fortunate to come across the grant because they were looking for funding to provide officers implicit bias training called Fair & Impartial Policing and another course called Procedural Justice.

“Being awarded the grant will allow us to have the classes in a timely manner which we would not have been able to achieve without the grant funds,” Stokes said.

The Fair & Impartial Policing is intended to provide a means to recognize any implicit biases so they don’t influence an officer’s policing decisions. Procedural Justice is a follow up to Fair & Impartial Policing and provides both de-escalation and diversity training in one course that helps officers relate to others and treat them in a fair and just manner.

“As you can imagine, the combination builds excellent skills for officers dealing with the situations they encounter,” Stokes said.

Both classes are nationally recognized law enforcement training courses and were developed under the US Department of Justice.

These two courses will be provided to all officers in the department “as we continue to ensure we provide the best service to a very diverse community.”

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