Salisbury–Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan has announced that she will retire, bringing an end to her 13-year career with the Salisbury Police Department.
Duncan, a New York native, began her career with the City of Salisbury in November 2010, hired under the leadership of former mayor Jim Ireton. As of February 2023, Duncan oversees a police force of 135, including 103 sworn officers, 17 civilian staff, 13 public safety communications positions, and 2 Animal Control positions.
Duncan was hired during a period of the highest crime rates in Salisbury’s history, and has since ushered in the safest years on record. Through extensive analysis and a data-driven approach to crime reduction instituted by Duncan, the City of Salisbury has seen a significant decrease in both violent crime and Part I crime–40 percent and 60 percent, respectively–since 2010.
Duncan introduced major change in the department, including re-instituting the Department’s K-9 program, reimagining the Criminal Investigations Division (CID), building a Crisis Intervention Team and Co-Responder pilot project, and developing the Police Complaint Mediation process in partnership with Community Mediation Maryland (CMM) and Tri Community Mediation (TCM), consistent with the Maryland Police Standards and Training recommended best practices, and more.
“Of my contributions, I am most proud of the cultural shift within the agency from being reactive to proactive in areas of crime reduction, officer safety, community engagement, and partnership-building,” said Duncan. “We were able to make this shift as an agency through the use of data analysis, overhauling training processes, and an unwavering commitment to forging collaborative partnerships between officers, law enforcement departments in the region, and the communities they serve. We have successfully maintained these critical connections and changed the way our community sees the Salisbury Police Department.”
Under the direction of Duncan, the Salisbury Police Department has developed a long list of community outreach initiatives, including working partnerships with multiple civic, faith-based, and neighborhood organizations, the creation of Community Bridges, an elementary school mentoring program, and the creation of the Doverdale Hawks lacrosse team in partnership with stakeholders in the judiciary.
“Chief Duncan has left an indelible mark on this City, and sets an example for all leaders in policing across the country,” said Mayor Heath. “Her diligence, strong leadership, and holistic approaches to policing have completely revolutionized the Salisbury Police Department and she has built a strong team that is disciplined and dedicated. The progress will not end here–I know this team will continue to make Salisbury a safer place to live with the values that Chief Duncan has instilled in them. Thank you, Barb, for your service to our City, and congratulations on your retirement.”
Duncan’s last day will be June 30, 2023. The City of Salisbury will be conducting a thorough national search for a new Chief of Police in the coming months.