Police Officers Association survey lists officer complaints

10 months 5 days 7 hours ago July 18, 2016 Jul 18, 2016 Monday, July 18 2016 Monday, July 18, 2016 5:58:00 PM CDT in News
By: Sasha Sander, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA- The Columbia Police Officers Association issued a press release revealing police officers are less than satisfied. 

The title of the survey is "An Agency in Crisis."

The morale survey was initiated on June 1, 2016 to over 90% of officers and sergeants within the Columbia Police Department.

The anonymous survey consisted of 12 multiple choice questions and a comment block for each question.

As stated in the release, "morale at the Columbia Police Department is extraordinarily low, and the cause of this epidemic does not lie at the feet of the officers. These officers have provided striking, clear, examples of poor management or mismanagement by the department along with a consensus that the department has, in the past, been abandoned and neglected by our city leaders."

Here are the statistics and some comments from the results of the survey:

comments_survey_distribution_copy._(1).pdf

The Columbia Police Department released a statement saying CPOA never sent it the survey. 

Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer said the department recognizes and values the opinions and concerns of department personnel. Larimer said the department has not and does not deny morale is low for its officers.

Shift concerns was one of the most common complaints in the survey.

“I get it, I’d love to be able to give everybody every weekend off and we work 40 hours a week some other time, but the reality is we’re a 24-hour-a-day agency that has to provide services, so somebody has to work nights and somebody has to work weekends. That’s just the nature of the beast,” Chief Ken Burton said.

Burton said it's not anything having 40 or 50 more cops wouldn’t help with. He said the shifts are the most efficient the department could come up with, giving officers every other weekend off.

Burton said officers need to understand the available resources from the city and how they're allocated. The statement said the lack of funding does not imply “neglect” of any department.

“We’re dependent on sales tax and sales tax is down. We’d love to be able to say ‘hire those 50 cops.’ I’m sure the City Manager and City Council would love to give us that money, it’s simply not there," Burton said.

The statement said the Columbia Police Department is committed to looking at the shift configuration after in late 2016 or early 2017 to see if any changes can or will be made.

The City Manager and CPD command staff have scheduled meetings with CPOA Board of Directors on more than one occasion and CPOA representatives did not attend, according to the statement.

Larimer said the department continues to welcome meetings with CPOA Board of Directors and CPOA members to discuss concerns further. She said the Columbia Police Department hopes as a city service, especially as a law enforcement agency, the only voice that resonates throughout this town is a voice of unity.

[Editor's note: KOMU.com has updated this story to include statements from the Columbia Police Department.]

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