Columbia Police Department puts emergency calls on wait list

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COLUMBIA- The Columbia Police Department is facing multiple challenges because of the current amount of officers at the station.

Every day, multiple times a day the department reaches what they call "status zero". Status zero is when every officer on duty is responding to a call at the same time. When this happens, supervisors have to triage emergency calls into one of two options. First, they can decide to move an officer off of their current call to the new location or they can place the call on a waiting list.

Assistant Chief John Gordon said, "Status Zero can last only a few minutes or several hours depending on the amount of call volume."

Officers are also losing valuable time in the community. They call it community policing and its when they are able to spend time with people, asking about their concerns and developing relationships.

Sergeant Bob Dochler said it's a very valuable use of time but with the resources the way they are right now, its not a large enough part of officers' days.

Dochler said, "Ideally a third of their day would be spent doing community policing work- that's getting out of their cars, getting into the neighborhoods, introducing themselves and developing those relationships with the people who live in their beats, that develops a level of trust. But right now, only two percent of their days can be devoted to policing."

Officers hope to find a way to increase community policing because they know its important to the community.

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