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October 18, 2020

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Thank you, Brian, for digging into the public information on the two candidates. One of the questions you did not explore is whether either of the two candidates will use the Salem position as a stepping stone for a more prestigious larger department position in the near future. That is a question that needs to be asked of both candidates.

Good Googleing Brian! Both candidates look promising to me. Regarding Womack, Salem and Stockton could hardly be more different. Besides being twice the size of Salem, Stockton is a high crime city and Salem is a low crime city. The article mentions 71 homicides in Stockton in 2012. In that year Salem had 7. Salem has averaged 5 homicides a year in the past 10 years that FBI data is available. The problem with the SPD, is not misbehavior (as in too many PDs as we have seen), but cost. We spend one out of every three General Fund dollars on the SPD and as a result have underfunded parks, libraries, code enforcement, planning -- the list goes on. I think it's time to "right size" the SPD to better fit the low crime rate in Salem. I'm hoping the upcoming performance audit will take a hard look at where we can really get our money's worth and where we can dispense with what the Breakfast on Bikes blogger calls "security theater." This will really be needed if we can be successful in shifting responsibility for dealing with our unsheltered population away from the SPD and if we pass Measure 110 to decriminalize drug possession. In theory that should take away a big part of the current SPD workload. The police union, of course, is going to fight like hell to maintain the status quo.

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