SALEM, Va. – Members of the Salem Police Department gave a 32-year-old school resource officer one of their top honors.
David Goodman is Salem’s 2020 Officer of the Year.
He received this year’s award for his unwavering optimism and ability to navigate the end of a difficult school year and the start of another during the 2020 pandemic.
Goodman, is a resource officer at Andrew Lewis Middle School and even through a pandemic continues to care for the students he serves.
“A lot happens in a teenager’s life in middle school, as they go through all types of emotional and physical changes.” said Goodman. “Just congratulating and recognizing kids on the small things like a new haircut or a new pair of glasses can really go a long way. I do my best to try and acknowledge the little things, because the little things can turn into big things later in life.”
Born in Charleston, South Carolina, he was raised in the Roanoke Valley and graduated from William Fleming High School in 2007.
His dad, Richard Goodman, served as a Salem police officer from 1993 to 2004.
David began his law enforcement career at age 20, working at the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office.
In 2016, he joined the Salem Police Department.
“I was taught to be kind, respectful of adults and to treat people the way that I want to be treated, and those are values that I have held onto and practiced my entire life,” said Goodman. “As a law enforcement officer, people do not always treat you the best or say the nicest things to you, but you can never stoop down to that level.”
“I have known Senior Officer Goodman since he was a teenager and it has been a true privilege to see him develop into the humble, hard-working and loyal man he is today,” said Salem Police Chief Mike Crawley. “He is unlike many people we currently see in the work force in that he takes ownership of a problem when he sees one and doesn’t wait for someone else for fix it. He has that ‘guardian’ mindset you cannot teach, and we are truly blessed to have him in Salem.”
Goodman has also worked to be part of the solution in terms of current events that have led to discussion regarding law enforcement procedure.
He and Sgt. Stan Malek lead the Salem Police Department’s community program, Culture, an acronym which stands for Community Understanding and Leadership Through Unbiased Response and Engagement.
“I try to understand both sides of these arguments, but to me, all lives matter,” said Goodman. “People want to be heard and ‘Culture’ allows people to respectfully talk to us in a casual atmosphere.”
Goodman will be honored formally by the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce in April.