New changes to CPD due to COVID-19
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department has made changes to its day-to-day operations since the "Stay Home Order" went into effect.
For the safety of the officers, CPD has reduced the amount of in-person calls officers respond to. Calls for service can be broken down into two screening categories: life threatening and non-life-threatening.
Some examples of life threatening calls include domestic violence, missing persons active assaults (robbery, stabbing, fights), reports of sexual assault and child abuse and neglect. Non-life threatening include peace disturbances, theft of motor vehicles, car accidents without injuries, vandalism/found property, and traffic complaints.
Dale Roberts, Executive Director of The Columbia Police Officers Association, said this does not mean crimes won't get recorded.
"Crimes, offenses, problems are still being reported and entered into the computer system and all the data is there, but a number of them are just not being done in person," he said.
Roberts said in some cases this could cause officers to respond to a situation faster.
"They're not patrolling neighborhoods as much, so they are more readily available to deal with smaller issues," he said.
Ryan Johnson, a resident of Columbia, thinks this could affect the community if they don't take care of petty theft.
"My first instinct would be to go on the phone and get in touch that way," he said. "If I was redirected to a website I would go that route but would be skeptical to see how the response time would be."
But he hopes in the long run this doesn't affect the community.
"We don't want to doubt the police's response and their ability to help," he said.
Roberts said Columbia Police is practicing safe social distancing in the office and in the field to keep officers, their families and the public as safe as possible.