Keeping an Eye on Authority
It's a part of a process to help educate a growing citizen interest in what goes on inside and outside of the Columbia Police Department.
"It's an oversight for those communities who think they need an oversight of police practices," explained Whitcomb.
There are varying opinions on the board's necessity.
On one side, the Police Dept. says complaints are already taken very seriously.
"The integrity of the Columbia Police Dept. is critical to the success of our mission. If the community citizens don't trust us, then we can't do our job," said Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm.
On the other side, some citizens say they've had problems with the department.
"I've been harassed, I've been intimidated, I've been told to turn around and put my hands behind my back for standing out in the corner exercising my freedom of speech," said Columbia resident Marlon Jordan. "There are many community leaders, black community leaders, who echo the words of Mayor Hindman that everything is okay; there is no racism."
While there were no answers at the forum, the purpose was to inform.
"We're a small community and yet people have a wide range of views as well as life experiences, and so we hope that people will come with an openness to hear each others concerns through their questions to Bill Whitcomb," said program organizer Nanette Ward.
"No one certain group should come in and say 'well this is what I need;' it takes a total community," said Whitcomb.
A committee is in the works to continue to analyze the need for the board.