Columbia Police Department Increases Training Budget
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department hopes to increase its officer training budget by 63%. This increase comes from a proposed total budget of $19.5 million.
The department also plans for closer training venues and in-house seminars.
The city hired a consulting firm last year to conduct a review of the police department and determine whether it acted on recommendations made in 2006. The consultant found the department reduced training to a state minimum of 24 hours per year, a number the consultants said is inadequate for a police department.
According to the consultants, this means officers could be unprepared for their most important tasks, ultimately endangering themselves, their co-workers and the public. It also creates a serious liability for the department, the city and the public.
The key issue with increasing training is officers are asked to conduct training on their days off which means more overtime hours. And now the department is proposing to decrease the overtime budget.
The police department also proposes adding 14 new vehicles at a cost of about $25,000 each, which it said will decrease vehicle maintenance costs. It also said it wants to increase its material and supply budget by $200,000 to implement a technology replacement plan. The department said the plan ensures replacement of critical equipment on a scheduled basis instead of when items break.
The police department will also continue working out a plan to supply three additional school resource officers to Columbia Public Schools. The school district now has funding available to pay for part of the officers' salaries in light of a recently approved sales tax.