Principled Policing in Action

Image of the City of Salem public art piece titled Equitas which sits in front of the Salem Police station.

©2021 Evan Roth Visuals

​​En español

At a time when community and police relations are under intense pressure, the Salem Police Department is committed to strengthening the public's trust and confidence.

We are committed to doing the necessary work to shift the paradigm of policing toward a new, deeper connection with residents while emphasizing relationships, collaboration, and trust-building. These actions are known as principled policing.

An abundance of national studies provide a clear roadmap of best practices for the Salem Police Department's efforts to earn the community's trust and confidence. These studies show that when people interact with police, four things shape their opinion on whether police are trustworthy or not: voice, neutrality, respect, and trustworthiness. These common-sense standards are often referred to as the principles of procedural justice, or principled policing. When departments consistently apply the principles to day-to-day operations, they gain a community's trust and confidence. 

The four principles of procedural justice: Voice (People want a voice, or the chance to tell their side of the story), respect (Everyone wants police to treat them with courtesy, and with respect for their legal rights), neutrality (Individuals want fair decision-making in which the decisions are based on facts, and are consistent and neutral), trustworthiness (community members want to be treated as if they count and feel confident that police are motivated by good intentions). Doing the work to build trust with every member of our community is a priority for me - Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack

​Crime reduction and safety

Making a commitment to principled policing doesn't conflict with public safety. In fact, it complements our public safety goals. Policing studies make it clear that when departments put these principles into action, they generate concrete public safety benefits. These departments gain the support of the community partners need to address serious crime problems, generate the cooperation needed to solve crime and contribute to community and officer safety.

The path to trust-building with our community

Putting Principled Policing into action:

1. Place community priorities and concerns at the center of the process.

The Salem Police Department will convene a series of listening session in small forums for community members to share their stories, concerns, and priorities for policing in Salem. The sessions will be community-wide, and Salem Police will make special efforts to engage community groups that may have had troubled histories with police and differing lived experiences. The department will draw from these conversations as it crafts changes in training, policy, and practice.

2. Tailor departmental training, policy, and practice to a double bottom line: Trust-building and community safety.

The Salem Police Department will work with community members and officers to review and revise department training, policy, and practice so that each is consistent with principled policing. The review will focus on policies, procedures, and training that directly impacts community trust of the police.

3. Support officers throughout this change process.

The Salem Police Department's commitment to principled policing—giving voice, fair, and transparent decision-making, and respectful treatment—extends to internal policies and practices that bear on well-being, safety, and career advancement.

4. Combine principled policing and smarter policing to improve community safety.

The Salem Police Department will combine principled policing with data-driven decision-making and evidence-based practices to invest public resources where they will be most effective in reducing crime, while strengthening trust and cooperation with the public.

Download the Salem Police Path to Trust-building Plan

Contact us

Debra AguilarLieutenantPolice Department
333 Division ST NE
Salem OR 97301
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