Firearms training, recruitment featured at Citizens Police Review Board meeting
COLUMBIA - The Citizens Police Review Board addressed the issues of firearms training and community policing at Wednesday’s monthly board meeting.
“Some of the members of the board can be a little aggressive,” Chairman Darryl Smith said.
Smith said that aggression is rooted in the passion board members have for the community and how they want to create better relationships with minorities and the police department.
Andre Cook, a training officer for the Columbia Police Department, presented updates on in-house training, which includes de-escalation techniques for interactions with minority youth.
He also talked about the department's Community Outreach Unit for community policing and a new “You Have Options Training,” which allows non-traditional reporting methods for victims of sexual assault.
Sgt. Curtis Perkins reviewed recruitment practices. He discussed changes for the department's job requirements, which reduced the 60 hours of college credit to no college credit necessary to be hired by the Columbia Police Department.
Perkins also presented demographics of newly hired officers with CPD since 2015, which includes: 44 white males, three African-American Males, one "other association" male, nine female officers.
Despite high tensions, the board collectively agreed the police department was doing a good job of meeting community standards. But Smith said there’s still a lot more to accomplish.
“In a year, I would to see CPD fully-staffed. I’d like to see them trained in dealing with the community. I’d like to see them with a force that’s representative of the community, and I’d like to see them represented by the community.”