Police leaders discuss officer shortages, body cams and racial issues

11 months 2 weeks 3 days ago June 08, 2016 Jun 8, 2016 Wednesday, June 08 2016 Wednesday, June 08, 2016 2:35:00 PM CDT in News
By: Jordan McGhee, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – The Columbia Police Department held a meeting with local media on Wednesday in the City Council Chambers.

The hour-long meeting included several key topics, but most notable were the discussions on the officer and detective shortage, officer hiring and retention, the racial disparity index, and new body cameras.

“We are short in patrol by a number of officers. Department-wide, my estimate is we’re short by at least 50 officers,” said Chief Kenneth Burton. “The simple reality is we need more boots on the street.”

Burton said getting more officers is a tough task, and it is nobody’s fault that CPD is understaffed. He said the city grew very quickly, and the department did not grow at the same pace.

CPD command staff said the shortage causes each detective to have an average caseload of 45-60 cases, which is nearly twice the national average.

“We’re playing a game of catch up now,” Burton said.

CPD is attempting to catch up by constantly looking to hire new officers.

“We’re recruiting every day,” said Assistant Chief Brian Richenberger. “We’re still finding quality applicants, just not in the volume we had 10 to 15 years ago.”

Deputy Chief Jill Schlude said CPD is not the only department experiencing fewer applicants. She said there are a number of factors that have led to this decrease.

“I think a lot of the glamor and the sexiness of law enforcement has been taken away,” she said. “I think people take a step back and say ‘ok, do I really want to enter this part of public service.'”

Burton said CPD has not had much of an issue keeping officers after they are hired. He said the few officers that have left did so due to personal reasons, such as retirement or family needs, rather than dissatisfaction with the department.

“I think we do a pretty good job of keeping them,” Burton said. “The only exception to that would be people that come in the door with the intent of getting a few years experience here then going somewhere else.”

Topics discussed included the racial disparity index showing that black drivers in Columbia are pulled over nearly three times more often than their share of the population.

Burton said the report released by the Attorney General’s office can be very misleading.

“I think it’s a bunch of numbers based on very limited information. There are a lot of assumptions that our department is racist because of that number, but that number by itself does not mean anything,” Burton said. “You have to look at why the stop is made, and a lot more information to take into account.”

Assistant Chief John Gordon talked about body cameras, saying new ones are coming to CPD police officers.

CPD is continuing with TASER, which provides the cameras, and Gordon said the new models will be a benefit for the officers without affecting the budget.

“They’ve taken officers’ suggestions and command staff, and have integrated those into the second-generation cameras. The best thing for us is we’re getting rid of cameras that are two years old, and we get brand new cameras for free,” he said.

When CPD originally purchased the cameras, it cost over $100,000. This deal will be free for CPD due to TASER trading new cameras to the department in order to supply the first-generation cameras to other departments.

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri economic development officials have authorized more than $6 million of incentives to several businesses that... More >>
33 minutes ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 5:06:00 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — An Arkansas man faces up to a decade in federal prison now that he's admitted forcing a... More >>
1 hour ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 4:28:00 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A St. Louis-area woman convicted in March of secretly poisoning her son with prescription medications has been... More >>
2 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 3:13:42 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY- A 16-year-old has been detained following the April murder of 63-year-old Jerry Robertson of Jefferson City. In... More >>
2 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 3:12:00 PM CDT in News
ST. CHARLES - A judge declared a mistrial in the case against Serghei Comerzan Friday afternoon. Jurors were not able... More >>
3 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 2:04:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A 4-year-old child was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries after a fire at a home on... More >>
4 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 1:20:00 PM CDT in News
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County deputies served a search warrant at 507 N. Garth Avenue in Columbia as the result... More >>
5 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 12:28:00 PM CDT in News
PLATTE COUNTY - Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against a 25-year-old northwest Missouri man if he is convicted... More >>
6 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 11:09:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Police have made an arrest in the investigation of a suspicious death in April. A 16-year-old... More >>
7 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 10:15:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Fire Department says it rescued a man after he became trapped between a... More >>
9 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 7:55:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — A Cape Girardeau institute that helps autistic people will remain open despite losing its state funding.... More >>
10 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 7:26:35 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Saint Louis University officials say no one was injured when a fire broke out at a... More >>
10 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 6:56:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Transportation was preparing Friday for a weekend of heavy travel. AAA predicted... More >>
13 hours ago May 26, 2017 May 26, 2017 Friday, May 26 2017 Friday, May 26, 2017 4:09:00 AM CDT in Top Stories
HOLTS SUMMIT - Callaway County Sheriff Deputies arrested two men after deputies found meth, marijuana and a firearm in their... More >>
18 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:36:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Eric Greitens called for the special legislative session on Monday, and it’s costing taxpayers thousands of... More >>
20 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 8:51:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police are investigating whether a man who stole a pickup truck after killing a woman and... More >>
22 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 7:09:45 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA – President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts on Tuesday could decrease funding for food stamps by nearly $200 billion... More >>
23 hours ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Pizza Tree, a local restaurant in Columbia, is participating in a national campaign that works with the non-profit... More >>
1 day ago May 25, 2017 May 25, 2017 Thursday, May 25 2017 Thursday, May 25, 2017 5:17:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 79°
6pm 80°
7pm 79°
8pm 77°
9pm 72°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
6:30p
Wheel of Fortune
5:30p
American Dad!
6:00p
Family Guy
6:30p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
First Dates
8:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld