Columbia residents offer feedback ahead of community policing meeting
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia will host its third meeting on Wednesday to get feedback on its community policing program.
Wednesday's meeting is in Ward 1, which covers part of central Columbia. KOMU 8 talked to Ward 1 residents ahead of the meeting, some of whom said trust between citizens and the Columbia Police Department is an issue.
The meeting will give residents a chance to voice concerns and suggestions they have for CPD.
Ward 1 resident Jeanine Hickman said she doesn't have any issues with police but knows many residents in the area have a problem trusting police. She also said this is an issue some police officers are aware of.
"My son is two and he was talking to an officer and after he and the officer got done talking, the officer wanted to thank me for allowing my son to talk to him," Hickman said. "The officer said a lot of people wouldn't have done that."
Another resident also cited trust as a primary concern regarding police in the Columbia community.
“It is important that we see each other as human first," Glenn Cobbins Sr. said. "If we stop that stereotypical outlook, it will bridge the gap and alleviate a lot of the problems that we have with trying to get along with one another."
Hickman suggests police spend more time in the Ward 1 area to build positive relationships. She believes that would help residents begin to trust police.
“There are fun events in the park for families. Maybe if the police did that and were actually there instead of just sponsoring it, that could build up the rapport between the community and the police," Hickman said.
Cobbins said he plans to attend the community meeting Wednesday and is optimistic about the impact it will have.
"Lets get around the round table, let’s be transparent in our approach and let’s try to build some type of trust," he said.
The Ward 1 meeting will be at Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services in the health training room from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. If residents aren't able to attend meetings, they can leave feedback in a survey. For more information on upcoming meeting, head to como.gov.