Faculty Senate discusses Gen Ed Program reform

By ALEXIS GRAMATES

Staff Writer

faculty senate discusses gen ed reform graphic

A sophomore Salisbury University communications student sat in a chemistry class one day wondering “how is this useful to my major?”

Salisbury University’s Faculty Senate has discussed the possible reformation of general education classes on campus. This allows incoming students to become more successful in their college career.

The faculty senate is made up of the university’s staff that oversees the process of the general education reform to ensure it will become successful.

James King, co-chair of the steering committee, commented on the steps being taken towards this new idea.

“The reformation came about because a comment was made by the university president to the provost to look at the general education,” King said. “There have been changes to the curriculum in the past, but no change has had a purposeful insight.”

A survey was conducted and given to faculty, students and alumni.

They were asked to give their opinion on their general education at Salisbury. The results showed a 30 percent gap between the faculty standards being met and what the data actually showed was met.

Faculty Senate President Stephen Ford explained how all students could benefit from this reform.

“There is a desire to have a reform here because we want to take into consideration all of those transfers that we often see as not having those basic skills that you have in general education,” Ford said. “In essence, this whole effort is in need for the students.”

This platform for the reformation will ensure that students will have a clearer understanding of what is being taught to them.

It will also focus on every student’s learning outcomes as well as continue to meet the learning outcome requirements for general education.

The faculty senate is focusing on narrowing down the learning objectives to make the general education requirements more manageable. This will allow individuals to address other outcomes to integrate into the new model.

The model is a continuation of the curriculum but with new features—first-year experience and integrative experience. Regulations, codes and laws will continue to be followed throughout this model.

“We do not have a remedial class here at SU, so we do not have a class that shows how to cite properly or how to do the basic general education skills,” Ford said.

The first-year experience ensures that all incoming students take a workshop style class to refresh their comprehensive skills.

The integrative experience will focus on one theme the whole semester while students work on every subject matter revolving around that theme.

The first-year experience class model will allow the library staff to teach a one-credit course in four seven-week sessions per semester per librarian.

The faculty senate wants more students to come out and give opinions on what they can do to make sure the new curriculum is beneficial for incoming students.

Senior Carl Fogg offered some future suggestions for the reform.

“The only thing I would ask is to make general education less intrusive of your actual major. I feel it holds you back from learning the stuff you actually want to learn,” Fogg said. “This is why they give you the choice to pick what you want to learn anyway when you come to college.”

The faculty senate continues to discuss more details to revise within the general education classes to make sure every student is confident and successful.

“I think the revision will make students more successful because that will be one less thing to worry about coming into university,” Fogg said.

The committee will be holding a roundtable discussion for students to express their views on the reformation on May 3.

Habitat for Humanity: Attentive to community struggles

By STEPHANIE CHISLEY

Staff Writer

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Salisbury’s population of 33,000 citizens has an innumerable amount of people who are homeless and cannot afford a home due to their financial status.

Some of these people also have children with them during these hard times.

Habitat for Humanity of Wicomico County Program Director Shannon Thomas stated that Wicomico County has the lowest income based on United Way’s Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employment (ALICE) report.

“It’s kind of shocking to see how much low income we have around,” Thomas said. “That’s why we need Habitat for Humanity.”

Not only does Habitat for Humanity help families in need, but there is also an impact within the community as well.

Thomas stated that the crime statistic has decreased 49 percent since Habitat for Humanity started building homes on Church Street since 2006.

Some people in Salisbury are not able to afford their homes, which cause a high foreclosure rate. In other cases, some people just leave the house and it becomes abandoned.

Housing and Community Development Department Director Susan Phillips shared that she makes calls to Habitat for Humanity to see if there is a potential home that can be demoed so that the city can donate it to Habitat for Humanity.

Phillips also stated that there are about 8,000 rental homes in the city of Salisbury.

“I’ve seen them have a strong sense of pride when they own property,” Phillips said. “It’s very heartwarming.”

There is also a program, Housing First, for chronically homeless people who struggle with mental illness, addiction and other reasons that hinder them from finding housing where resources such as rehabilitation are provided.

Another issue is that many children within the Salisbury community lack the proper nutrition due to poverty.

Wicomico County NAACP Youth Council President Jermichael Mitchell stated that besides lack of nutrition, there is a concerning epidemic of the use and selling of heroin.

This is another issue for children. Mitchell shared that drug dealers are giving dope to juveniles because they will not get in too much trouble for it.

“A kid is going to do whatever they have to do to make $1,000,” Mitchell said. “They tend to not care about going to school when they can make money.”

In addition, some families within the community are severely affected by the levels of poverty to the point that they do not have access to transportation.

The lack of public transportation, excluding Short Transit, is limited, and there are even boundaries to the transit.

As a temporary solution, Wheelhouse head volunteer Jeff Dean stated that his company provides bicycles for homeless advocacy organizations and for parents that do not have economic needs to purchase bicycles.

“I think it’s vital,” Dean said. “We do not see a lot of solutions regarding affordable, dependable transpiration.”

Efforts in the community, like Dean’s, continue to further the awareness of drug abuse and homelessness while sharing Habitat for Humanity’s vision in order to make the city of Salisbury a safer place.

SU announces new urban and regional planning degree

By Sawyer Cornelius

Staff Writer

SU announces new urban and regional planning degree pic

Salisbury University geography and geosciences department announced the opening of a new bachelor’s degree program in the studies of urban and regional planning (URPL).

The multidisciplinary program fills the growing need for professionals willing to preserve society’s history, culture and resources through responsible planning and development.

Associate professor of the geography and geosciences department, Amal Ali, commented on the details of the new program.

“If you really want to make a difference in your local community, [URPL] is for you,” Ali said.

Whether it is helping communities overcome environmental hazards, gaining economic opportunity or improving the overall quality of life, planners are of great importance.

The new urban planning program provides much greater insurance in securing a career within the planning industry than the formerly offered planning and land use track granted.

“Now, with the offering of a full program with the current minor, the job market will respond greater to Salisbury University applicants than the replaced academic tracks,” Ali said.

Enrollees of URPL are also encouraged to minor in a related area, such as conflict analysis and dispute resolution, environmental studies, economics, geography, GIS, history or political science for a more conceptual understanding.

URPL incorporates real-world experience with an internship opportunity which uniquely spans a full academic year.

Students of the program will begin their personalized internships in the fall of their senior year.

Pupils will not only benefit from one-on-one training, but will also take part in contracted field work conducted by the Maryland Department of Planning.

“Working with the State during the field work period is a great outlook in the career of planning,” Ali said.

SU students have already responded to the new addition in geoscience choices with several already enrolled for the launch in Fall 2017.

Dean of the Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology Karen Olmstead, explained in a press release the shared vision between this program and the university’s mission statement.

“This new program supports the university’s mission of empowering students to be gainfully employed citizens in our interdependent world,” Olmstead said. “We hope some of them will affect positive change right here on the Eastern Shore.”

According to Ali, the planning and urban development sector is undersupplied for job placement post-graduation.

“Job-wise, it is an exceptional time to take up a career in planning the future,” Ali said. “Students who have graduated have found positions in architecture, engineering, consulting and sustainability firms, as well as the Maryland Department of Planning and other like county offices.”

The U.S. and Maryland Departments of Labor predict substantial increases in urban planning jobs in the next five to 10 years.

Senior Hunter Phillips hopes to become a local planner and is making the switch to the new program before graduation in December.

Phillips believes the new program and the internship with the Maryland Department of Planning’s Lower Eastern Shore Regional Office will help him “obtain a job straight out of college.”

For details concerning the new program’s perquisites, requirements and opportunities, visit http://www.salisbury.edu/geography.

Literacy program helps local community

BY SAWYER CORNELIUS

Staff Writer

The crisis of adult illiteracy in the greater Salisbury area now faces a new enemy.

The Project READ program, sponsored by the Wicomico County Public Libraries, aims to decrease the proportion of illiterate adults within the local Salisbury and surrounding communities.

Project READ is a free one-on-one literacy program that assists adults in becoming fluent in basic reading, writing, fundamental mathematics, health and finance.

Wynnette Curtis, coordinator of the libraries’ program, spoke regarding the intentions and goals of the Project READ initiative.

literacy program

Photo from salisbury.edu

“The adult literacy program is an innovation of one-on-one tutoring in areas of basic writing and math to computer-operation skills,” Curtis said. “[It] is more effective and tailored to individual learning styles as opposed to class-like settings.”

The current READ program, launched in September 2016, is the third iteration of several attempts at decreasing the statistic of Salisbury’s illiterate populous.

Past issues pertaining to funding and staffing have made the jumpstarting of READ far from easeful.

This time around, grants have been secured from organizations such as the the United Way, Henson Foundation, Friends of the Library and various Salisbury Rotary Clubs to ensure a permanent, more stable duration of the program’s existence.

“In the long-run, we aim to make READ an incorporated service of the library,” Curtis said.

The program’s qualified and dedicated volunteer literacy coaches provide tutoring sessions twice a week solely for the benefit of serving those less educated.

Coaches range from Wicomico County Health Department employees to local retirees; all of whom sign privacy agreements to secure tutees’ confidentiality.

Two Salisbury University faculty members participate in training the program’s prospective coaches and even take part in mentoring local illiterate.

Leonard Arvi, Ph.D., a professor of economics and finance at SU, explains his involvement with the program.

“The experience is very fulfilling, and I believe that it is a positive change to which I can help contribute,”Arvi said. “I assist in matters of finance; ranging from budgeting, money management, debts and check-cashing locations.”

Arvi joined the initiative after attending a city council meeting regarding the high volume of local employment opportunities in comparison to the low supply of qualified workers.

“The Wicomico County libraries announced the project at the meeting,” Arvi said. “…and with my experience in teaching money-saving and investment lessons in the past at James M. Bennett High, I decided to help train interested volunteer coaches for the program.”

Koomi Kim, Ph.D., a member of SU’s May Literacy Center, is also an integral part of the university’s contribution to the program at large.

As the host of supportive sessions of READ’s numerous tutors often held at the May Center, Kim shared some insight.

“I am very impressed with both the coordination of the program and motivation of the program’s volunteer coaches,” Kim said.

The program encourages one-on-one coaching staff from within the community.

The libraries’ downtown branch will be hosting an employment readiness seminar on Wednesday, April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.

More information about Project READ is available at www.wicomicolibrary.org/project-read or 410-749-3612, ext. 159.

Couple furnishes SU’s third largest donation

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Photos by Sawyer Cornelius

By SAWYER CORNELIUS

Staff Writer

Salisbury will soon be equipped with an all-new Center for Entrepreneurship with the Rommels’ donation.

Dave and Patsy Rommel are Salisbury locals with deep ties to the University and its goal for student preparedness, especially within the business fields.

Dave Rommel began his professional career working for Rommel Electric Company, which was founded by his father in the late 1970s.

He grew the family business into the current Rommel Construction Group that specializes in electrical, mechanical, traffic and transit work.

The company also operates several Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships and Ace Hardware locations throughout the mid-Atlantic.

Dave Rommel’s mother is an SU alumna herself and is committed along with his wife, Patsy, in helping a new generation of entrepreneurs find success.

On Thursday, President Janet Dudley-Eshbach announced an overwhelming $5.5 million gift from the Rommels.

This benefits the establishment of the new Center for Entrepreneurship at the Plaza Gallery Building in downtown Salisbury, in addition to funding future campus and Perdue School activities.

The esteemed announcement was the culmination of SU’s eighth annual Phillip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation Shore Hatchery program, which provides some $200,000 in annual funding for young entrepreneurs throughout the region with Shark Tank-style competitions and pitches.

The news came as a prelude to Friday’s Entrepreneurship Competitions, also sponsored by SU, that offers close to $100,000 in annual cash awards.

The $20,000 Bernstein Achievement Award for Excellence initiated by local entrepreneur Richard Bernstein in 1986 is a cornerstone of the local support and yearning for entrepreneurial accomplishment.

“Patsy and I are thrilled,” Dave Rommel said. “It is an honor to be able to support our hometown University, and very easy to support something as progressive as this.”

The new Center is expected to be operational for student and public use by 2020.

It will feature shared co-op spaces, six offices, construction garages for winners of mentioned competitions, manufacturing space dedicated to robotics and a small assembly with usage of 3-D prototype printing services.

For clothing creations, textile workshops will grant sufficient space for manufactured apparel to be sold through an on-site “spirit store” at the downtown location.

Perdue School Dean Christy Weer underscored the day’s takeaways for those considering SU enrollment and business study interests.

“I think this gives students a greater vision of opportunity that not just any school can provide,” Weer said. “We hope to serve students in greater ways than ever before as a result of these coming improvements.”

The new center is only a portion of a much larger vision that the university and the City of Salisbury view on the horizon.

Their joint efforts aim at designating 30 acres in downtown as a Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone by the Maryland Department of Commerce. SU was recently announced as a qualified institution.

If said distinction is attained, the spurring of economic development and job creation with the assistance of property and income tax credits is promised to follow.

President Dudley-Eshbach described the recent years of city-university partnership.

“When I began in 2000, I felt the University was very inward-looking,” Dudley-Eshbach said. “It is extremely important that we have a connection to not only locals, but also residents of the Eastern Shore, entire State and ultimately the nation for assisting students through their entrepreneurial ideas.”

The Rommels’ gift is SU’s third largest financial donation to date and ushers in a new age of student opportunity and community cooperation.

 

UNESCO director-general presents violent extremism prevention lecture

BY VAL PETSCHE

Staff Writer

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UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova presents solutions to violent extremism during her speech on April 6 in the Guerrieri Academic Commons. Photo by Val Petsche

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova presents solutions to violent extremism during her speech on April 6 in Guerrieri Academic Commons.

 

Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova spoke at Salisbury University on April 6.

 

Over 400 students and faculty attended the presentation, which was entitled “Preventing Violent Extremism in the 21st century.”

 

This event was organized by Professor Brian Polkinghorn, SU executive director of the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution, and Professor Mark Brennen, the UNESCO chair for Rural Community, Leadership and Youth Development at the Pennsylvania State University.

 

Bokova discussed solutions for building and sustaining peace, as well as ways of preventing violent extremism by cultivating a generation of global citizens.

 

She ultimately sought to provide the tools to overcome the challenges of a conflict-ridden society.

 

The speech was a part of the “One Person Can Make a Difference” lecture series hosted by the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution.

 

Bokova communicated the dire need for a generation of global citizens that can challenge violent extremists through skills to react to hate speech.

 

In order to learn such skills, there must be an emphasis on improving literacy, civic engagement and tolerance.

 

Following an assertion that violent extremists are not born into such positions, but are made, Bokova provided appropriate responses to consider.

 

“Violent extremists promote fear and division—we must respond with skills, with opportunities for civic engagement, for intercultural dialogue,” Bokova said.

 

Bokova was also awarded the President’s Medal by Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, President of Salisbury University.

 

The director-general was commended by Dr. Dudely-Esbach for her “lifelong dedication and service to the global community of [UNESCO], and for her major contribution to ensuring that girls have equal access to education.”

 

Bokova is the first woman to lead UNESCO, serving the organization since November 15, 2009. She has been recognized with state distinctions from across the world for her efforts to advance quality education, gender equality and sustainable development for all.

 

 

Cody Wehlan, SU graduate assistant for conflict resolution, stood among the audience to ask what people can do in their communities, as well as on the global scale, to create a welcoming atmosphere for people of all cultures and religions.

 

Wehlan formerly addressed the growing issue of a marginalized youth vulnerable to the influence of organizations with deceptive political agendas such as ISIS and Boko Haram.

 

“Well, I think the internet gives an enormous opportunity for these platforms. It very much goes along the lines of diversity and mutual understanding or respect,” Bokova said.

 

One such question asked what gives the director-general hope, which prompted the discussion on the tremendous progress education has made as a major component in today’s global political agenda.

 

“On one side I see a lot of hope for the future, but we have to think deeply in order to tackle some of these situations because hard power is not enough,” Bokova said.

 

The insight continued as Bokova accredited the work of those who are actively involved while also encouraging others to do the same.

 

“I think there are millions of people who understand what is there. Most importantly, they are committed, they are engaged, they are not bystanders just watching what is happening,” Bokova said.

 

No Haters: SU Celebrates Stop Hatin’ Week

BY SYLLIA NEWSTEAD

Staff Writer

Salisbury University’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted Stop Hatin’ Week on April 10 as a way for students to join together.

 

SGA Vice President Cearrah Sherman explained the initial purpose of this campus event.

 

“Stop Hatin’ Week was basically started to promote diversity and inclusion by saying stop hatin’ on our differences as far as cultural background to opinions and interests,” Sherman said.

 

To promote the event, different organizations came out to create a banner for Stop Hatin’ Week on April 6.

 

Though the banner painting was not in the official week, it helped to prepare for the following events. They are hung up in the middle of The Commons on display.

 

Each day presented a theme of unity through different events in which students could participate.

 

The first day’s event consisted of Family Feud in the Wicomico room; just like the game show with Steve Harvey, students were asked questions about Salisbury University. The first 100 people to attend received a free shirt.

 

April 11 followed with Tie Dy-versity, where students were able to create their own tie-dye shirts and receive a free “Stop Hatin’” shirt as well.

 

This activity highlighted the process of adding different colors together to make a beautiful shirt and used this action as a metaphor for different people coming together as one.

 

Wednesday kicked off the Love is Louder event. Shirts said, “Love is louder than __” and student were able to fill in the blank themselves.

 

Sophomore Ashley Lewis wrote on her shirt that love is louder than hate, saying that “it is better to love one another than to be hateful.”

 

Students also had the opportunity to post their response on social media platforms. SGA encouraged students to post what they thought onto Instagram with #LoveisLouder and #StopHatin.

 

Senior Peyton Reynalds shared her thoughts on the event.

 

“I like the fact it gives people the chance to say love is louder than something,” Reynalds said.

 

The Thursday event consisted of guest speaker Carlos V. Davis, and the topic of his presentation revolved around the title, “We is Greater than Me.”

 

“[SGA] noticed that there is a lot of separation between students here, whether it is race, organization, religion—anything like that,” Sherman said. “We just want to be a united force in the University of Maryland system.”

 

The speaker gave an interactive presentation that focused on teamwork building and Salisbury being a united campus.

 

Lastly, Friday concluded the week with an African Dancers & Drummers performance in Holloway Hall. The Southeast, Washington D.C. group provided a unique educational experience for Salisbury.

 

Stop Hatin’ Week gave people a “chance to try to come together and try to understand what other people are going through right now, even if they are not directly going through it,” Sherman said.

 

The intention of this week was to host events where people could relax before Easter and enjoy the spring weather.

 

“I felt like [SGA] definitely tried their best to get everyone to [go] to them and talk to them about how they felt,” Lewis said.

 

Sherman expressed SGA’s vision to help achieve a more unified student body.

 

“Student Government Association’s goal is really to be the liaison between the students and the faculty and the staff,” Sherman said.

Black Activism: A call to action through history and knowledge

By Syllia Newstead

Staff Writer

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Feministiskt Initiativ’s Youtube video shown during lecture

Salisbury University hosted a Black Activism lecture on Tuesday evening in Conway Hall 153.

Assistant Professor Aston Gonzalez had a few insights on that topic. Gonzalez mainly teaches African American History from pre- and post-Civil War with some other history courses.

“It is a subject that more people need to know about, as well as it being a timely topic to help students and faculty members understand a pressing contemporary issue,” Gonzalez said.

The lecture began with the video, “Black Lives Matter Sweden” by Feministiskt Initiativ, which he first watched with his friends in England in 2016.

The video showed different black Swedes talking about black oppression and how it is dehumanizing the black race.

It also talked about how 700 black refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe for a better life. The video is meant to persuade the viewers to take action.

“When they die, it’s just another article in the newspaper, sometimes,” Gonzalez said. “The racist violence towards black bodies is enabled through your inaction.”

The video ended with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., stating, “we must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.”

The question of what can be changed was prompted, followed with the emphasis that there’s a need for visibility on the topic and a change in laws.

He explains that to change the legislation and the police officers themselves, it is necessary to raise funds and have public protests like town halls and campaigns.

There have been multiple people in history who wanted to make the world conscious of what the lives of black people have been like.

Gonzalez talked about nine black activists, including Fredrick Douglas, Henry “Box” Brown, Ellen and William Craft and Martin Luther King Jr.

Gonzalez elaborated on each individual, explaining how they became famous in their community and the places they traveled to influence others to help support them.

Henry “Box” Brown mailed himself to freedom and went overseas to reenact him mailing himself. Brown then saved his money so he could buy his family members who were still enslaved.

Another activist, Marcus Garvey, established the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which became an enormous movement in African American history.

Many of the famous black activists traveled to Europe and gave their money to the cause to help fight against black oppression.

Gonzalez wanted people to learn from other people’s activism. He wanted people to listen to black leaders and to be acquaintances to people of all demographics.

“I wanted the audience to take from my lecture the broad range of strategies that African Americans had used over the past two centuries to fight for racial equality and justice,” Gonzalez said.

Overall, the goal was to provide insight to make activism personal by encouraging others to speak their minds to the public.

“We are the voice of the movement,” Gonzalez said. “Your story is personal and it can change people’s minds.”

East Campus improves athletic experience

By Sawyer Cornelius

Staff Writer

The spectacle of bulldozers, cranes and dirt mounds is anything but novel for current students of Salisbury University.

Several milestone improvements such as the expansion of student housing, on-campus parking and academic facility space are changes to happen within the decade.

Ongoing alterations to the East Campus athletic fields and facilities have since begun the construction process, with some already open for student and public use.

Matt Groves, a project manager for all SU architectural and engineering capital projects, spoke regarding the current scenes of construction near the tennis stadium and former soccer and intramural fields.

“The old soccer field will become the new soccer field,” Groves said. “Currently, storm water drainage corrections and upgrades to spectator seating is what can be seen at this moment in the construction progress.”

In addition to these improvements, updates to more modern LED lighting, scoreboard equipment and synthetic turf will become the new standard of athletic facilities at Salisbury.

As a former project architect of the Ewing Cole firm of Philadelphia, Groves believes that this year’s construction will make for a greater student-athlete and spectator experience.

“Increased amenities such as overhauled grandstand seating, ticket booths and all indoor restroom facilities as opposed to current Porta-Potty usage,” Groves said, “will surely add to the presentation and higher standard that SU has been working towards for years.”

The recent opening of the new softball stadium attests to the luxury and greater performance which SU yearns to achieve.

Construction activity at the corner of Avery and South Division Street can be seen, as preparations and advances on the relocation of the campus’ intramural (IM) field are underway.

The IM field will also be equipped with curb-to-curb synthetic turf, LED lighting with glare guard and key linkages of sidewalk and street lighting along Avery and South Division.

The turf will be lined and color-coded for multi-use purposes ranging from rugby and lacrosse to smaller activities such as flag football.

“In thelong-run, turf is more cost effective, requires less maintenance and is better looking than traditional seeded grass,” Groves said. “Each of these project improvements from the sidewalks to lighting advancements feature more safe designs and greater aesthetic appeal than their soon-to-be obsolete predecessors.”

The SU Architectural and Engineering department has their eyes set on the next construction project, which calls for the relocation of the Sea Gull baseball stadium to the grounds of the former IM field.

The work is said to be finished by the start of the 2018 spring season, with construction bidding beginning this June.

Along with the operational softball stadium, the baseball complex will also feature an elevated press box, grandstand seating, dugouts, bull pins, batting cages and efficient lighting and scoreboard technology.

The mentioned athletic improvements are budgeted around $19 million and are certainly set to positively impact both student-athlete and spectator experiences at SU.

Additional information on the East Campus improvements, future construction activities or any other developmental happenings around campus can be addressed by Salisbury Architectural and Engineering Services and Capital Projects department through www.salisbury.edu/aes/.

Ride Along: Inside look of Salisbury police department

By Stephanie Chisley

Staff Writer

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While I was nervously sitting in the Salisbury Police Department waiting for an officer to approach, there were numerous thoughts going through my mind.

The door swings open and Officer Kelly Oppel walks in, standing at about 5 feet 3 inches tall and wearing a gray and navy blue pant uniform with a low ponytail.

A single mother of two, Officer Oppel has been working for the Salisbury Police Department for three years and is the only female officer that is a part of the B-squad shift.

Officer Oppel stated that being a female within the police department is a good thing because there are not a lot of them. One piece of advice that she shared for women who are interested in the police department was to make sure that it is something that one can handle.

“You have to have tough skin,” she said. “You have to be able to handle a situation as it’s presented to you and make quick decisions.”

Ride-Along

After taking off from an injury during a fight, Officer Oppel is back on the streets, patrolling within her beat in south Salisbury. Within the first 15 minutes driving down Camden Ave., she received her first dispatch call of the day to Prince St., stating that there is a subject down.

Officer Oppel stated that they contacted a man who was laying in the middle of the road and that he could not tell them what year it was or his date of birth.

“He needed help we were able to provide it for him,” Oppel said. “If not, he could’ve been ran over because he was laying in the middle of the road.”

As five teenage boys were riding their bikes along the sidewalk, Officer Oppel drove alongside them, speaking her thoughts aloud.

“Aren’t they supposed to be in school?” Oppel said while staring them down trying to see if she recognizes any of them. “Who we got?”

Officer Oppel slowed the car down as she tried to make out who the boys are.

“Naw, that’s not what’s-his-face,” she said as she sped the car up.

On the Job

Before joining the Salisbury Police Department, Officer Oppel was a veterinary technician for 11 years. Determined to try something new, she decided to become an animal control officer.

After being on field training for three months, she was offered a position to become a cop a week later. With a family history of aunts and uncles being cops, she had no intentions of becoming one.

“I had to go through the academy,” Officer Oppel said. “I did not know if I wanted to do all that, but I ended up doing it and I am glad I did it.”

Within the media, cops are portrayed as the “bad guys” when handling situations, especially when it comes to race. Due to the numerous amounts of deaths, cops are looked at as villains.

Officer Oppel shared that it does not matter what it is that you are doing—someone has a bad opinion about someone no matter what job they have.

“It’s like they let one bad cop or a few bad cops destroy how they let people think about them,” she said, “because I know I’m not bad, but people do not get to see that side.”

As the topic developed, confusion and shock showed on Officer Oppel’s face as she shared that when showing up to a scene to help, people are not saying, “I’m so glad you’re here.” Instead it is, “Why are you here?”

“When I get out on a scene everybody’s like, ‘Oh they sent you?’” she said in a mocking tone. “I’m like ‘okay, I may be short, but I can get something done.’”

Though Officer Oppel has a passion for working on the force, there is one thing that she finds distasteful.

Growing up, she said that she always saw cops as good people and would always want to go speak to them.

“Nowadays, you just don’t have it,” she said. “The respect and the things that I grew up knowing and doing; it’s not the same anymore.”

RIDE ALONG 1

The Other Side

Although Officer Oppel may be a cop, she still has another job when getting off duty: returning home as a mother.

On the days that she is off, Officer Oppel spends time with her two boys at the trampoline park. She even visits her mother, father, two brothers and two sisters.

“Your only time off is to spend time with family,” she said. “All of my other time is spent here at the department.”

Final Thoughts

Just like other civilians, Officer Oppel has goals that she would love to accomplish.

She sat in the driver’s seat, reminiscing as the excitement showed on her face.

“In all reality, what my goal is is to become a detective,” she said.

Officer Oppel shared a short story about being assigned to a case at the La Quinta Inn where a room was charged for $16,000 and the guests skipped out on the bill.

Oppel said that she figured out who they were and got them charged.

“It’s just the feeling of actually getting someone who think they are going to get away with something and they don’t,” Oppel said.

With all the chaotic crime and backlash from the media, Officer Oppel still reports for duty when scheduled.

“I love my job,” Oppel said. “I love knowing that I am going to help someone today and someone is going to remember me.”

“It’s frustrating and agitating at times but, at this point, since I’ve done it, I wouldn’t want to do any other job.”