Columbia Police Department transfers traffic police to patrol

Related Story

COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department confirmed on Friday that it has been planning to reassign its traffic unit officers to patrol in order to develop its Community Outreach Unit, which was introduced late October to resolve community issues and organize resources. 

Columbia Police Department Deputy Chief Jill Schlude said it was not an easy decision to make.

"We had to do a lot of internal talking," she said.

Schlude said patrol has been monitoring the city's Community Outreach Unit.

"It's an experiment and we are excited about it," she said.

Patrol has already reallocated two officers and a sergeant to the unit, Schlude said.

"It's weighing what's the most important thing to do right now," she said.

The core duty of a patrol unit is to respond to 911 calls and provide people in need with emergency support.

The traffic officers were transferred to the patrol unit so they can respond to more important calls. 

Schlude said it's in the best interest of the community and the city council agreed.

The CPD is allowed to hire 165 sworn officers at this time, she said.

The police department tries to add positions every year. It is planning to hire more civilians to fill the roles, Schulde said.

Mike Jackson, a resident of Columbia, supports the decision by the Columbia Police Department.

He said, "It's a good idea."

Jackson said he believes people need the community support from police more than anything.