Columbia City Council withdraws contract on community policing

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council met Monday to get rid of a proposal for a contracted event designed to try and better community policing. In return, the council urged the community to submit recommendations for a revised plan. 

The previous contract would have paired the city with a number of community organizations to discuss and arrange a community event in November to address community policing, improve morale and public safety. 

Ward 2 Council Member Michael Trapp said the purpose of the event is to bring the community together.  

"The overarching goal is to reach out to the community and solicit feedback on how the community wants to be policed," Trapp said.

The $60,320 contract was withdrawn because of cost concerns and public opposition. City manager Mike Matthes proposed the drop, and suggested the council and the community join in a conversation that would improve the current plan. The council urged organizations involved to establish a clear objective and budget. 

Columbia Police Officer Nick Glandon said the best way to improve community relations with the police is to establish and maintain trust. "Once we establish those relationships we can't let it taper off."

The city council will take recommendations for a new proposal, and present a more clear and cost effective option in the coming weeks. 

"We're going to take a little bit more time to put out our product, and with that time I think that we will have a proposal that is cost effective and gets more support across the community."  

The Columbia NAACP will address similar concerns at its community engagement forum on policing, equity and civility Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Secondary Missionary Baptist Church.