Target 8: Columbia Police substations cause confusion in high crime area

2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Wednesday, January 15 2020 Jan 15, 2020 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:15:00 PM CST January 15, 2020 in News
By: Ethan Stein, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Faith Mejia's children know to drop to the ground whenever they hear gunshots. In 2019 alone, three homicides happened about a block away from their home.

"My son was riding his bike just playing with his friend across the street and shots rang out," Mejia said. "My son's best friend was gunned down last year [2018] and, unfortunately, didn't make it."

She's used to police searching her backyard for casings and said the police shouldn't have to travel far. The Columbia Police Department's substation across from McKee Street Park sits less than a mile away. 

The substation is located at 4507-A Orchard Lane. It's one side of a duplex across from McKee Street Park. According to a council memo, the substation costs $400 a month, plus electric and gas. It's 1 of 5 substations in Columbia.

The substation's original purpose was to house a Community Outreach Unit, according to a council memo. However, Columbia Police ended the community outreach unit, merging it with its downtown unit to make one community resource unit.

Steve Sapp, the Director of Community Relations for the city of Columbia, said the substation's purpose is to allow officers to complete paperwork, use the bathroom and a place to meet residents while staying in their assigned beat. However, people around the McKee Street substation were unaware of its new purpose. 

Community members, like Faith Mejia, complained to Target 8 about the lack of a police presence at the substation since the elimination. In our Target 8 investigation, we recorded activity for over six hours at the substation across different time intervals over the course of a weekend in October 2018. 

Our camera would sometimes run out of space or battery before a police officer drove across the substation. Overall, Target 8 found the lack of a constant police presence at the substation. 

The substation near McKee Street Park is in 3rd Ward, which is represented by councilman Karl Skala. Target 8 showed him some of our video and he wasn't surprised with the lack of police presence. He said he believes it's a consequence of resource shortages for the police department. 

"There has been no resource increase, in terms of police, which we're going to have to get to," Skala said.

However, the Columbia Police Department said the lack of a constant police presence is not because a lack of resources or staff shortage. Sapp said the expectation of a constant police presence at the substation is a misunderstanding. 

"I suspect a lot of people think about them as a precinct house," he said. "But we should certainly should explore ways to make sure residents understand that. Perhaps, on our website we need to do a better job explaining it."

Sapp said the substations allow police officers to stay on patrol in their assigned beats as well as use the bathroom, work on paperwork and meet people. 

Faith Mejia believes the sense of a constant police presence, however, is needed.

"I don’t really see them there in the significant times that crime tends to happen," she said. "I feel like if there was an officer there or just a car parked, a lot of these things might not happen. I mean, who's going to drive down the street and kill somebody."

More News

Grid
List
KOMU 8's Emily Spain talked with Dr. Christelle Ilboudo about recovering from COVID-19 and when it's safe for people with... More >>
2 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 7:53:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
ASHLAND – Thanks to a community grassroots effort, dozens of local medical workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic... More >>
3 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 6:55:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Essential workers are continuing to change their usual routines in order to keep people safe during the... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 6:00:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Documents show the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department is looking for a facility to contract... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 5:58:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - If you ask Andrew Grabau, the nonprofit sector was built to help out in times of need. ... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - People around the country are facing new realities and, in some cases, a new virtual reality. Since... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 3:57:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County deputies say they are investigating a death after a man's body was found in Perche Creek,... More >>
6 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 3:49:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Fire Department was dispatched to a residential structure fire at 903 Jefferson Street at 12:43 p.m.... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 2:51:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- The state senate was back in session on Tuesday morning to consider bills covering the governor’s request for... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 1:07:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY — Prosecutors filed charges in late March against a man suspected of abandoning a corpse in Callaway County... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 1:02:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Palen Music Center was one of many businesses impacted two weeks ago by Columbia’s stay-at-home order. After the... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 12:47:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
MIAMI (AP) — Until a month ago, Diana Leticia Hernández sold face cream door to door in Miami. Her husband... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 12:24:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Working from home might cause stress if you don't have access to Wi-Fi. But early this month,... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 12:17:00 PM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 9:18:00 AM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (CNN) - The Ferguson-Florissant school district in Missouri has suspended the home delivery of meals to students... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, April 07 2020 Apr 7, 2020 Tuesday, April 07, 2020 7:52:00 AM CDT April 07, 2020 in News
Two insurers -- Allstate and American Family Insurance -- announced Monday they will give back about $800 million to their... More >>
22 hours ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 11:49:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
KOMU 8's Emily Spain talked with registered dietitian Jennifer Tveitnes Monday about how to handle stress eating and keep eating... More >>
1 day ago Monday, April 06 2020 Apr 6, 2020 Monday, April 06, 2020 9:37:00 PM CDT April 06, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
10pm 71°
11pm 69°
12am 66°
1am 65°