Keizer PD partners to reduce summer violence

A Keizer Police Department photo. File Photo

The Keizer Police Department (KPD) alongside several other public safety partners are coming together this summer in order to reduce the risk of violence in the Salem-Keizer area. 

The partnership includes the Salem Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices and Juvenile Department and the Oregon Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to Keizer Police chief Andrew Copeland, “We have two officers designated to work with a group we call Safe Streets, a county-wide task force to address violent crimes and take those who choose to be a part of the violent crime world into custody.” 

Copeland continued stating that the department’s “hope is also to identify where violent crimes are prevalent and to insert cops by targeted patrols.” 

Keizer is a critical piece to the violence reduction as, according to Copeland, the violent crimes occurring sometimes require county-wide efforts giving an example of an instance where a Keizer resident goes to Salem, commits a crime and then returns to Keizer. 

The proposed initiative allows the various law enforcement departments to work together in the hopes of reducing the amount of crime. 

For Keizer’s part, members of the Community Response Unit, led by Keizer Police Sgt. Darcy Olafson, will be involved in the task force being created. 

The summer project is a part of the Community Violence Reduction Initiative (CVRI), a program that utilizes two parallel efforts by using community engagement to develop a community-based prevention strategy as well as other measures departments are using to curb violence such as increased patrolling in areas with a history of crime and violence. 

The overall goal of the project is to encourage deterrence, education and trust-building with enforcement used only as a tool for those who engage in violence. 

The project partners revealed some of the ways they will encourage deterrence and education including: visible patrols through areas identified as being at high risk for violence, identifying local government and non-profit summer youth programming to refer at-risk youth to, leveraging county parole and probation services to reduce the amount of re-offenders for those identified as high-risk as well as increased education and trust-building opportunities created via community engagement. 

One of the causes of this project has to do, in part, with data gathered in 2023 for a Salem gun violence problem analysis which identified locations in northeast Salem where shootings are more concentrated and where a majority of the efforts will be focused. 

According to Statistical Atlas, a compilation of U.S. census statistics, the area that will receive more patrols and police attention is primarily where Hispanic and Black citizens reside in the area. 

Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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