Update – Below is an e-mail sent by Salem City Manager Steve Powers to Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett and the Salem City Council (presumably BCC) as well as Salem Police Chief Jerry Moore and Salem Strategic Initiatives Manager Courtney Knox Busch:
A link to the updated Salem PD audit proposal is located below (it was an attachment to the e-mail listed above):
*** Below is information posted prior to July 24, 2020, preserved until this page can be fully updated ***
Please sign and share this new petition that calls for the Salem PD third-party audit to be conducted in a timely, fair, and transparent manner:
At the July 13, 2020 Salem City Council meeting a proposal to launch a third-party audit of the Salem Police Department was approved by a unanimous vote. The audit was first proposed by Councilor Vanessa Nordyke (Ward 7). Councilor Nordyke deserves a massive kudos for initially calling for the proposal, as well as for leading the charge and effectively advocating for the effort in the July 13th City Council meeting.
The original proposal, which was drafted by city staff, was amended during the Council meeting. The amendments improved the scope of the audit. To see the original version of the proposal, including the proposed scope of the audit, go to this link here. When the updated version is published, this page will be updated.
This page will serve as a living document, and any updates that arise from the audit will be posted here in an attempt to make it easy to follow and stay up to date. To watch the July 13 Salem City Council meeting, check out the video embedded below courtesy of CCTV’s YouTube channel (the main audit discussion and vote starts at the 3:02:30 mark):
The July 13th unanimous vote was significant and worthy of celebrating. However, that celebration needs to be tempered because there will be a lot of work ahead, not the least of which is ensuring that the third-party entity that is selected to conduct the audit is honest and reputable.
It is vital that the Salem community, especially Communities of Color, be as engaged in this process as much as possible to help ensure transparency, accuracy, accountability, and quality outcomes. As was discussed at the July 13th Council meeting, this is a really big opportunity to review many things, including the use of school resource officers and how to better prioritize Salem PD’s budget to incorporate better practices when it comes to addressing mental health, addiction, and a number of other things.
While the scope of the audit does not technically cover those areas, in the spirit of efficiency the Council discussed that it would likely be good to revisit all of the items involved for many reasons, including the eventual expiring contract for school resource officers in Salem and the new police chief starting in the near future. Change is never guaranteed, however, this is likely as good of an opportunity to push for significant law enforcement reform in Salem than at any other time in Salem’s history.
Action item – Now is the time to contact your City Council members (link to contacts), City Manager Steve Powers (link to contact), as well as Mayor Chuck Bennett (link to contact), to let them know that you want to see the audit handled in a way that is transparent and accurate and that the audit involves incorporating input from ALL communities within Salem, including and especially Communities of Color.
The public input component of this audit is crucial because one of the main purposes of the audit is to try to rebuild trust in the City of Salem and Salem PD, which has eroded considerably in recent weeks with everything that has gone on (see the other pages on this website).
Also, with a growing number of citizens calling for police reform, in addition to looming budget shortfalls due to the ongoing pandemic, the public deserves to know that its limited public resources are prioritized properly and being used effectively.
Below is a video summary of where things stand right now with the audit: