Audit of Community Policing Policies, Procedures and Programs

​​En español  The City of Salem is conducting 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 will be informed by best practice and consider the context of the City's budget and available resources, and community capacity.

Community Policing Performance Audit

Why a performance audit?

There are several issues of community concern for which the Salem Police Department is a principal responder, regardless of whether an activity is criminal.  City Council and the community want to better understand how Salem police officers prepare for and interact with unsheltered individuals and individuals experiencing behavioral health crises. Peaceful assemblies, permitted protests and demonstrations, and impromptu crowds can require a Police Department presence or response.  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 is 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?

Third-party review

Hillard Heintze was selected for the Community Policing Performance Audit.  Their team is impressive, bringing depth in policing, community engagement and equity and inclusion to the table.  The recommendation was unanimous, and all parties expressed confidence and enthusiasm in working with their team for this important work.  Evaluation committee representatives have experience in accountability, performance auditing as a discipline, policing, outreach and engagement, committee facilitation, and policy analysis.

As part of their work with our community and to supplement virtual meetings and engagement, Hillard Heintze will be conducting three week-long site visits for interviews.   The Steering Committee and performance auditing firm will be supported by a staff group comprised of representatives from the City Manager's Office, City Attorney's Office, Human Resources and Police Department.

Timeline for Salem Community Policing Audit140 KB10/14/2020
3/11/2021349 KB
1/14/2021306 KB
12/10/2020323 KB
11/19/2020464 KB
11/5/2020297 KB
10/22/2020133 KB

​Steering committee

To support this work and desired engagement with our community, the City assembled an advisory group of community leaders with expertise in areas of focus proposed in the audit.  The Steering Committee will serve as a sounding board at key milestones and decision points.  As recommendations are being formed, the Steering Committee will meet to consider preliminary findings and recommendations.  Steering Committee Chair, Jodi Sherwood, is also the Chair of the Salem Community Police Review Board.

The Steering Committee will meet at least six times to review initial findings, prepare and interim report for the City Council in December, and finalize the audit report and recommendations.  When the audit is complete, the Steering Committee and City Council will hold a Joint Work Session.  We expect community interest in this work and will make the meetings available for streaming, as is our practice with Boards and Commissions.  

Committee members

Jodi Sherwood, Community Police Review Board Chair

Officer accountability

Ann-Marie Bandfield, Marion County Public Safety Coordinating Council

Service spectrum: acute and forensic behavioral health

George Burke, Deputy Chief of Police

Salem Police Department polices, programs, and activities

Levi Herrera, Mano a Mano

BIPOC community member

Kathleen Jonathan, Salem-Keizer School District

BIPOC community member

Ashley Hamilton, ARCHES

Service spectrum: unsheltered community

Casey Kopcho, Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division

Cyndi Leinassar, Salem Health & Salem Police Foundation

Service spectrum: unsheltered

Wilma Marchbanks, Salem Human Rights Commission

BIPOC community member

Scotty Nowning, Salem Police Employees Union

Salem Police Department employee

Contact us

Courtney Knox BuschStrategic Initiatives Manager
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 220
Salem OR 97301