Long­time School Re­source Of­fi­cer Sal­ley re­tires from SSPD

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Burch­fiel Staff Writer mburch­fiel@nwadg.com ■

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

Michael Burch­fiel/Siloam Sun­day

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