Columbia Police Department Plans to Reduce Patrol Cars

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department plans to reduce its budget by cutting back on the number of evening and night patrol cars. The City of Columbia asked the department to reduce its budget, but Lieutenant Shelley Jones said the department is not reducing officers. Instead, two officers will be in certain patrol cars.

Officials say the reduction in cars will save on gas and maintenance expenses and allow for better response times to emergency situations.

Lieutenant Jones said that the two-man patrol cars will respond to emergency situations that already require two police officers to respond, such as domestic disturbances, robberies, and violent crimes. She said because the two officers will already be together, one will not have to wait on the other to arrive at the scene.

Columbia residents have mixed reactions to the changes. Some fear crime and other disturbances will increase when the community notices the reduced number of cars. Others think it's a good way to save money.

Resident Steve Spellman said, "It might be more effective per call. They do log a lot of miles, and that does cost a lot of gas."

The new plan will begin no later than January.