New municipal court position to connect people with social services
COLUMBIA - Columbia city officials are trying to make the municipal court process easier.
The city announced the creation of a new position called "Court Services Analyst" who will be responsible for identifying ways to reduce the number of repeat offenders and connect people with resources to prevent future problems.
The new position was approved by Columbia City Council on November 20.
Municipal Court Judge Cavanaugh Noce said he envisions the new employee will be particularly helpful with the court's special and community support dockets, which he started earlier this year.
Noce said the support dockets target the homeless and veterans living in the community.
"What I hope for this is that person can... gather data so we can kind of tell what's working and not working," Noce said. "As we try to do this more creative and more inventive thing, we need to know what works. That's part of the analyst role, and a really important one."
Noce said the analyst will work personally with those summoned to municipal court to connect them with needed resources, including assisting someone in finding a job or getting a homeless person a roof over their head
"Homeless individuals can be at a disadvantage in the court system without a permanent address because they won't receive documents like court notices or summonses in the mail," Noce said. "When an officer writes a ticket it is a 'warrant waiting to happen' without a permanent address."
According to a report presented to city council, the analyst will also help assess the "risks and needs of persons appearing in municipal court and use that information to match community resources to individual needs."
Columbia Community Relations Director Steven Sapp said the position's starting salary will be $19.21 per hour.