Wilhelm retires; Harris named acting police chief
By Shavonne Potts
About 100 people gathered at the Salisbury Police Department to say goodbye to Police Chief Mark Wilhelm, who officially retired Wednesday.
Lt. Rodney Harris, 42, was appointed interim chief, City Manager David Treme announced.
Harris has been with the department 19 years. He began with the Salisbury Police Department in 1990 as a patrol officer. Harris served 12 years as an investigator, followed by four years as a police sergeant. In 2008, he was promoted to lieutenant.
When the new year begins, Treme hopes to have interviewed several candidates, he said in a statement.
He hopes to name a new chief by mid-February.
Wilhelm has served in law enforcement for 30 years. He began his career in law enforcement in February 1979. Wilhelm became chief in June 2003.
In 1978, he graduated from UNC-Charlotte with a criminal justice degree. In 1993, Wilhelm received a master’s degree in criminal justice also from UNC-Charlotte.
Wilhelm also serves as a mentor with the Rowan Youth Services Bureau. He is a member of the Salisbury Optimist Club and a board member of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan and the Terrie Hess House Child Advocacy Center.
Throughout the years, Wilhelm has received various accolades including a Communication and Leadership Award from the Goldmine Toastmasters Club in 2003 and earlier this year when he received the Koontz Humanitarian Award.
Wilhelm hopes to keep busy, possibly with a part-time job, he said when he announced his retirement in November.
Harris is a 2009 honors graduate of Livingstone College with a bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice. Harris began active police duty with the Salisbury Police Department in 1990 as a patrol officer. He served 12 years as an investigator, followed by four years as a police sergeant. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2008.
“It is a great honor to serve the city of Salisbury and its citizens during this interim period as acting police chief,” he said in a release. “It is our goal, at the Salisbury Police Department, to create an environment in which citizens and visitors feel safe in all parts of our City,” Harris said.
Internal applications for chief will be posted and accepted through Jan. 15.
Treme said, “All things being equal, my preference is to select the most qualified individual who is currently serving in a leadership capacity within the Salisbury Police Department.”