Authorities staying silent on Salem police sergeant’s DUI charge

CORRECTION: The golf cart collision that triggered a drunk driving investigation of Salem police Sgt. Dustin Wann occurred at Northwest Brookside and Vick Avenues. A previous version erroneously reported that the Salem police initiated a traffic stop of Wann at that location. Oregon State Police did not contact him until later. Wann has also pleaded not guilty, while a previous version said he hadn’t entered a plea. Salem Reporter apologizes for the errors.

A Salem police sergeant is belatedly facing prosecution after he was charged last fall driving under the influence of intoxicants, according to Polk County court records.

Sgt. Dustin Wann, 44, wasn’t charged with the crime until six months after he was accused of driving drunk  in west Salem near the Salemtowne Golf Club during Memorial Day weekend.

Authorities are staying silent about whether Wann was involved in a golf cart collision just before he left the club that left a Salem woman with head injuries.

Polk County District Attorney Aaron Felton declined to comment on the earlier collision because it is related to the drunk driving case that is pending.

Felton wouldn’t release police reports about the golf cart incident, saying the report was part of the drunk driving case.

The collision that triggered the drunk driving investigation occurred around 10:30 p.m. on May 27, 2023, at the intersection of Northwest Brookside and Vick Avenues, near the Salemtowne neighborhood. 

The Oregon State Police took over the investigation but the agency and Salem police declined to release their reports. Salem police also declined to release their reports on the golf cart episode.

The available records don’t show what action police took the night they suspected Wann of drunk driving.

Wann didn’t respond to a voicemail seeking comment. His attorney, Julio Vidrio, also did not respond to an email or phone call.

The charge was filed Nov. 16 in Polk County Circuit Court and the state police cited Wann on Nov. 27. He was charged with driving under the influence – a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and fine of up to $6,250.

The charge alleges he drove while under the influence of “intoxicating liquor,” according to court records. 

Felton explained the six-month lag in charging the police sergeant, noting his office had to review the case and more work by police “took a significant amount of time.”

Wann has yet to enter a plea in the case, and another court proceeding is scheduled for March 1.

State records show that Wann went on paid administrative leave from his police job three days after the collision and remains in that status. 

Wann is paid about $144,000 annually, according to Salem police spokesman Sgt. Trevor Morrison.

“We cannot, however, share any details as to Sgt. Wann’s leave status as it is a personnel matter, and thus, confidential,” said Angela Hedrick, a spokeswoman for the Salem agency, in an email Thursday.

Typically, police officers put on administrative leave are assigned to work from home while continuing to collect full pay.

This is the second time Wann has been accused of drunken driving while working for Salem police.

Wann was hired by Salem police in December 2004 and was promoted in 2011 to corporal.

“He left the Salem Police Department for a short time and applied for promotion back to the rank of corporal,” the agency said in a 2017 news release.

In 2013, Wann was charged in Washington County Circuit Court with driving under the influence. He pleaded guilty but the charge was dropped when he completed requirements for diversion.

While in the diversion program, Wann took a voluntary demotion before resigning in December 2015. He was rehired in October 2016, according to records of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, the state agency tasked with licensing officers and investigating complaints of misconduct.

In December 2017, Wann was promoted to corporal and six months later to sergeant.

He has been a member of the agency’s SWAT Team, Downtown Enforcement Team, Mobile Response Team, Trauma Team, Domestic Violence Response Team and Drug Activity Response Team, according to Salem police.

He has also been a defensive tactics instructor, a field training officer and a detective in both the property and persons investigations units.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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Ardeshir Tabrizian has covered criminal justice and housing for Salem Reporter since September 2021. As an Oregon native, his award-winning watchdog journalism has traversed the state. He has done reporting for The Oregonian, Eugene Weekly and Malheur Enterprise.