Police Chief Womack Issues Statement About Expected January 1 Protests

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​The Salem Police Department is aware of several protests that are planned in our community on Friday, January 1, 2021. These protests may impact areas and city streets near the Oregon State Capitol, Bush's Pasture Park and Mahonia Hall. The Salem Police Department, in partnership with the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff's Office, will have resources including patrol, crowd management teams and SWAT officers to monitor and manage the protests as they unfold.

The Salem Police Department's preparations have included reaching out to protest organizers. Conversations with organizers about safe and lawful protests and the actions which could result in police enforcement or intervention are an important component to maintaining order and safety for everyone. Although attempts to speak with all persons involved have not yet been successful, we remain open to the opportunity for communication.

We recognize the concerns brought forward by residents. These events have affected our entire city in one way or another. When opposing groups come into contact, the risk of violence increases as evidenced in previous protests. The recent events at the Oregon State Capitol also resulted in violence and property damage. Due to these past unacceptable and unlawful actions, the Salem Police Department has set the following objectives and goals for its response to the upcoming protests.

  • Our primary goal is to prevent or stop violence, prevent or stop property damage and deny the unlawful occupation of public or private buildings, while respecting individuals' right to free speech and assembly.

  • Keep opposing groups from converging in order to prevent violence and best ensure community safety.

  • Take proper enforcement action to address minor offenses when reasonable and appropriate.

  • Ensure follow-up investigation of criminal behavior that was not immediately addressed.

These goals and objectives are based solely upon the neutral interests of overall public safety, regardless of the view held or expressed by any particular group of protestors.

To the extent possible, residents are encouraged to avoid the above-mentioned areas as there may be disruptions to traffic flow.

Please continue to monitor the Salem Police Department's media platforms for any traffic or police advisories.

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General information about the Salem Police Department's approach toward managing protests can be found on the City of Salem website.

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