Columbia Crime Up; Police Employment Down

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COLUMBIA - After months of scrutiny, police officers in Columbia will make an effort to hire more employees.

"A citizen survey commissioned by the city tells us that the citizens believe public safety is their number one concern. What we need are more feet on the street," Executive Director of Columbia Police Officer's Association, Dale Robertson, said in July 2013. 

According to the Uniform Crime Report, between 2012 and 2013 employment among Columbia police officers decreased, while crime went up during that time frame. In 2012, 4,713 total crimes were reported in Columbia. That number went up to 4,792 in 2013. As for full-time officers, the number was 156 in 2012 and 152 in 2013. 

But Sgt. Joe Bernhard says the Columbia Police Department is trying to hire more officers.

"Recently they changed their requirements for college education, they replayed 30 college hours of credit with two or more years of federal active military service," Bernhard said. 

Now the training and recruiting unit is working on a campaign to get more people to apply to become an officer.

"They're trying to go around to different colleges and universities, anywhere were people would be interested in becoming a police officer," said Bernhard.

Anyone interested can also apply online at the Columbia Police Department's website or follow the link on its Facebook page.