Q&A with Former Salem Mayor Mike Swaim

Family law attorney and former Salem Mayor Michael E. Swaim is supporting the bond measure to erect a new police headquarters. We stopped by his office on Cottage Street to ask about his endorsement.

Friends of Salem Police: When you talk to people around town, what do you hear them saying about the police center?

Mike Swaim: People seem mostly concerned about the cost overall, and the disconnect in making needed seismic upgrades to the library and city hall at the same time.

FSP: How do you respond?
MS: I’m supporting of the police facility because that’s the lynchpin of making our community a community, one that we can be proud of and safe in – and that’s a big issue. I’ve been here since 1978 and in middle 1980s I could see that we were running out of space [at the police station] and it was cramping the kind of job that the police department had the skills to do but not the facilities. So, I’m strongly supportive of this. It’s an investment in our future.

FSP: Through the eyes of a former mayor, tell us why does it take extra effort to get a bond issued passed in Salem?
MS: Everyone agrees that we need a new police center.  However, finances are tight, and people want to be sure that they are getting good value for their money.
 
FSP: Do you believe we will one day regret not building a facility that took population growth into account?

MS: Not if we have better urban growth planning than we have had previously.
 
FSP: When looked upon as an investment, what return will Salem residents get by approving the police center in November?
MS: A certain peace of mind in knowing that our police force is well-equipped, appropriately resourced, and working in a safe environment that allows them to continue to do the vital work that they perform for us every day to keep our community safe.