COLUMBIA - City Manager Mike Matthes issued a consultant's report Tuesday morning that shows the public is losing faith in the operation of the Columbia Police Department.
In December of last year and January of this year, outside researcher Eric Anderson was hired to interview 130 members of the department as well as the Columbia City Council, members of the Citizens Police Review Board, and others.
The report found the community's satisfaction with the police department has been dropping for years. In 2005, 81% were satisfied and in 2012, 69% were satisfied.
In the researchers findings, Anderson reported "the supervisory culture is approaching toxicity." He also said the "morale of the department is extremely low," and that the "general attitude of most officers is characterized as fearful, hesitant, and uncertain."
Anderson also reported "management decisions are being made without adequate preparation". Communication within the department is very poor, Anderson described it as "incomplete and inconsistent."
The report makes 14 recommendations, including a review of the police chief and his senior staff's capability to manage, better communication internally and externally, pay increases when possible in the budget, and a new police headquarters that encourages communication between the ranks. Matthes said he will work in the coming month to develop a road map to implement all 14 recommendations.