Longtime School Resource Officer Salley retires from SSPD
One of the constant presences in Siloam Springs’ schools hung up his badge at the end of May, as Sergeant Chris Salley officially retired from the Siloam Springs Police force. Salley has served as a School Resource Officer in Siloam Springs for the last 13 years. The seniors who graduated high school last month were just starting school when Salley began working in schools.
Salley said he plans to spend his retirement with a combination of work at the barber shop he owns on Broadway Street, and spending more time with family. Salley said he wants to focus on enjoying the little things with his family above all.
“When you grow up, you realize those are the big things,” Salley said.
Several current and former police officers stood to speak about Salley during a retirement ceremony on Wednesday, May 31. The first of those to speak was Salley’s longtime friend and current Benton County Chief Deputy Meyer Gilbert.
Gilbert said he had hired Salley to his first job in the justice field, starting as a court clerk in Mississippi. When he turned 21, Salley became an auxiliary officer, and when an opening appeared in the police department, Salley finally got a job as a full-time police officer.
Gilbert said the city he and Salley served was more violent than Siloam Springs, with many more homicides.
“He’s probably investigated
more murders than all of us put together,” Gilbert said, gesturing across public meeting room in the Siloam Springs library, which was full of police officers, firefighters and family members.
From there, Gilbert and Salley served together abroad with an international police force in Kosovo. When Salley moved to Siloam Springs, Gilbert followed shortly after.
Salley joined the Siloam Springs police in 2003, and moved to the SRO program shortly after.
“I couldn’t ask for a better SRO on our school than Chris,” said Siloam Springs assistant Superintendent Jodi Wiggins. “Chris epitomizes what a SRO should be.”
Salley has developed an active shooter program for teachers and police stationed on schools that he is teaching on a state level through the Criminal Justice
I couldn’t ask for a better SRO on our school than Chris. Chris epitomizes what a SRO should be.
Institute at the University of Arkansas. Salley said he plans on continuing to teach school shooting response techniques. Salley also serves on the board of the Arkansas Safe School Association in Little Rock.
Salley was recognized for his service with a Meritorious Service award, which was pinned on by his son, who was in Siloam Springs’ schools for the duration of Salley’s time as a SRO. Salley was also presented with a retired police officer’s badge, his patrol shotgun and a sidearm.
The road for Salley to work in Siloam Springs’ schools was not the road he expected to take. Upon arriving in Siloam Springs and beginning patrols, Sally found himself bored and missing the high stress and fast pace of his international work or his former department in Mississippi, he said.
“I didn’t go in the schools because I wanted to help kids,” Salley said. “I was bored to death… I didn’t think a whole lot of the world anymore. I guess I was jaded.”
Salley said he first moved to being an SRO so he could attend school on the weekends to become a barber, with the goal of retiring from the force and owning the City Barbershop on Broadway. But after working at a couple of football games at Siloam Springs High School, all of that changed. Salley began to enjoy work as an SRO.
“I got so fired up, I just wanted to run up and down the sidelines, shooting into the air with my firearm,” Salley said.
“Work in these schools, work with these kids has been the biggest honor for me.”
Jodi Wiggins Assistant superintendent
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