Citizens Police Review Board Reaches Out to Public

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COLUMBIA - The Citizens Police Review Board met Wednesday night to discuss positive connections with the public and Columbia Police Department. The board hopes to improve communication with the public through a hearing.

Shortly after the board was created, controversy arose. A disconcerning editorial published in The Columbia Tribune last fall brought attention to the need to improve communication with community members in order to increase community relations with the police. Continued controversy, lack of public involvement and need for improvements with the police department prompted the committee to take action in increasing communication.

The board does not want to seem combative and plans to increase involvement with community members. The public hearing date has not yet been scheduled, but one proposed day is the next scheduled board meeting on August 10.

The board also plans to improve relations with the Columbia Police Department. Several board members believe that the rift between the board and the police is imaginary but needs to be addressed. The public's involvement and opinions are also necessary in order for the committee to improve relations.

The board will release a second report in addition to its annual report. This report will contain information regarding police relations and expectations from the committee.

Mayor Bob McDavid spoke at the committee meeting and encouraged communication with the public. "It's our goal that the citizen's have confidence in the Columbia Police Department," the mayor said.

Mayor McDavid said he appreciates all that the board has done and that he is hopeful relations will improve once expectations of the board, police department and city council are defined.