Columbia City Manager asking for thousands to run study for CPD

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department wants to run a study to see if they have enough police officers for the city, and they're asking Columbia's City Manager for help.

The study costs $12,500, and CPD asked Mike Matthes for approval to move money from the Asset Forfeiture Fund to the police department's budget.

CPD is already running a study in its patrol division but would like to extend it into the investigative division.

According to Columbia Police Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer, approximately 82 officers work within the patrol division and 15 in the investigative division.

Ward 3 Councilman Karl Skala said he thinks the money would be well spent.

"I believe that $12,500 is a reasonable sum to explore Columbia Police Department efficiencies in the wake of last November's public repudiation of the property tax increase necessary to employ more police officers," Skala said. "I do believe that more police officers are a necessary part of our ongoing 'community policing' strategy. In the meantime, police efficiency strategies are essential."

Skala is referring to the proposition on the November 2014 ballot asking voters to approve a 30-cent property tax increase to pay for more police officers. The proposition failed with 60 percent of voters voting no.

Skala said it takes a lot of money to hire police officers.

"One police officer cost $100,000 per year plus 20 years [for their career life expectancy] plus $2 million per year and absent the public support necessary to increase staffing with a guaranteed yearly increased revenue stream, we are left with maximizing police department efficiencies with a one time expenditure for consultant advice," Skala said.

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes declined KOMU 8's request for comment, and Columbia Chief of Police Ken Burton did not respond.