A Statement from Chief Womack Regarding Protests

Posted on December 19, 2020

News Release from Salem Police Dept.
December 18th, 2020 2:50 PM

Downloadable file: Signed letter from Chief Womack

To the Salem Community,

As I complete my second week as your Chief of Police, I want to assure you I have listened and heard the questions and concerns expressed related to the recent and continuing protests. I highly value transparency, so I believe it is critical to immediately begin openly sharing information and answering questions as fully as possible. To that end, we are providing online answers to the most common questions we have received. We will update this web page as necessary to ensure it remains current, accurate, and contains timely information.

My staff and I are continually assessing available information about potential protests, planning appropriate responses, and communicating and coordinating with our partner law enforcement agencies and the community. Our priorities for any protest are to protect the rights of citizens to freely express themselves and peaceably assemble, while preventing violence and destruction of property.

During recent protests, speech has occurred that is racist and offensive. We as police officers can do little to stop such offensive language. However, let me be very clear, I do not condone nor support racist speech, and condemn racism in all its ugly forms including white supremacy. There is no place for hatred in our community or within the Salem Police Department.

I look forward to the coming new year with hope and anticipation. I know that together, as one community, we can improve safety, bring a sense of peace and mutual respect, and build bridges of trust across all cultural and socio-economic boundaries.

Thank you and Happy Holidays.

Trevor Womack

Chief of Police

Salem Police Department

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