This week the Evening Times revealed just two stations in Glasgow would remain open 24 hours a day and more than 12 would close at midnight.
Police Scotland said a review had shown there was minimal usage at night and it was not the best use of resources.
Across Scotland, 65 stations would be closed to the public completely.
Mr Salmond was challenged at First Minister's Questions in the Scottish Parliament by Ruth Davidson Scottish Conservative leader if he supported the front desk closures.
The First Minister said: "There is a substantial argument that our police officers and other staff in our police stations shouldn't be behind a desk seeing a limited number of members of the public, but rather be in the communities of Scotland, doing their best to keep this country safe."
In Glasgow, the stations to close after midnight are West End (Partick); Drumchapel; London Road; Shettleston; Maryhill; Pollok; Cathcart, Gorbals, Easterhouse, Baird Street, Pollokshaws and Saracen.
Anderston will close to the public completely.
Only Govan and the city centre station at Stewart Street would remain open 24 hours a day.
Mr Salmond added: "The front counters in 31 of the 65 stations where the counter is to close received less than five visits a day from the public for core business. Many are receiving an average of less than one a day. In view of this, is Ruth Davidson seriously suggesting that this initiative is going to diminish public contact with the police?"
He said most people contacted the police by phone or e-mail and said the police presence on social media was growing.
Opposition MSPs said the move was designed to cut costs and was not about putting more officers on the street.
Ms Davidson was concerned that police officers would be behind desks carrying out duties of the civilian staff who have been made redundant.
She said: "We know the public value having access to their local police office so they can report crime and speak to officers.
"The First Minister's definition of policing seems to be that reporting a crime is now regarded as a minor matter.
"This is nothing but policing on the cheap from the Scottish Government."
Graeme Pearson, Labour Justice spokesman, said: "These closures are the consequence of a £60million cut demanded by this SNP Government and will not result in one single additional police officer being put on the streets.
"This will only add to the 1200 jobs already lost among police support staff."