En español Beginning in October of 2020, the City of Salem conducted a performance audit of the Police Department's policies, procedures and programs with a focus on interactions with unsheltered individuals; interactions with individuals experiencing behavioral health crises; engagement with our community with particular attention to black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC); response to assemblies and crowds; department capacity; use of force: and officer accountability. The resulting recommendations, featured below, were informed by best practice and considered the context of the City's budget and available resources, and community capacity.
Independent Assessment of the Salem Police Department's Policies, Procedures, and Operations - April 22nd 2021
A Message from the Steering Committee - April 29 2021
Chief of Police Memo Regarding Assessment - April 29 2021
Why a performance audit?
In 2020, City Council and the community wanted to better understand how Salem police officers prepare for and interact with unsheltered individuals and individuals experiencing behavioral health crises; and how the Police Department prepares for anfd responds during peaceful assemblies, permitted protests and demonstrations, and impromptu crowds gathering. Police officers are challenged with balancing responses to calls and unobligated patrol time, where officers may have opportunities to engage with residents in productive ways and build relationships. Officer accountability is essential to maintaining public trust. Review and adjudication processes must be fair to all and complainants must have confidence that their grievances have been considered by the Police Department and City without bias or predisposition. Police officers must have confidence in the integrity and competence of their colleagues.
The performance audit was guided by several questions.
Are the Police Department's policies and tactics aligned with City Council and community values and expectations?
What is the Department's capacity for community policing?
How effective are Salem police officers in engaging with all Salem residents? How effective is the Department's engagement with youth? Are the Department's policies, tactics, or training biased or discriminatory?
How effective are the Police Department and City's systems, policies, and procedures for officer accountability?