New community policing report calls for more officers

5 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Friday, August 31 2018 Aug 31, 2018 Friday, August 31, 2018 10:53:00 AM CDT August 31, 2018 in News
By: Jared Smith, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - Sgt. Robert Fox, the lead officer of the community policing effort, sent a report to the city Thursday stating CPD needs more officers to start this project. 

In the report, Fox said every member must be on board with this project in order to perfect community policing. It also says a visit to Lincoln, Nebraska will be ideal to see how it uses this type of policing.

The main focus of the entire report is creating 12 more officer positions every year for the next five years.

Fox cites Columbia having the third highest call volume per officer at 427, according to a Benchmark City survey, as the reason for needing more officers.

In addition to more officers, higher pay for each officer is also needed. The report said community policing takes more effort for officers and should be paid properly for more work.

The report cited drug issues, including marijuana, as causing many of the city's shootings and homicides. 

Columbia has used a form of community policing with the Community Outreach Unit, crime numbers have decreased throughout the city. 

Here are some of the numbers according to the report:

  • 519 fewer 9-1-1 calls
  • 11 percent drop in shots fired calls 
  • 24 percent drop in rape
  • 47 percent decrease in robbery 
  • 50 percent decrease in aggravated assault 
  • 46 percent drop in burglary 
  • 16 percent drop in motor vehicle thefts

The only statistic that increased was larceny and theft by .5 percent since 2017.

Comments from people living in each city ward were also posted in the report telling Fox what they want in their community policing program.

Some improvements include having better response times to priority calls and according to an anonymous source, "WE NEED MORE OFFICERS."

Many comments have also said more property tax would be the way to fund for this project. A property tax increase of $77.25 each year over the five year plan would help pay for community policing. 

In 2020, the cost for hiring 12 new officers and 2 more sergeants would cost around $1.6 million. From 2020-24, the expected cost would reach $20.5 million to pay for 60 officers, 10 sergeants, a lieutenant and assistant chief.

This report will be brought to city council at the meeting Tuesday. Members of the public are welcome to attend and voice their opinions of the report.  

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