Columbia residents weigh in on law enforcement at Friday meeting

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COLUMBIA - City council members Laura Nauser and Michael Trapp facilitated a third recommendations discussion issued by the Mayor's Task Force on Community Violence after it was disbanded in November of 2014.

The two council members are working with community members to decide the best way to implement and improve recommendations.

"What this whole process is right now is to inform the public of where the city has made progress on the recommendations and what is currently being done," Nauser said. "And we're following it under the four pillars that we set up the recommendations, so that's intervention, prevention, law enforcement, and re-entry."

Columbia residents had the opportunity to voice their opinions on the task force recommendations. John Clark said it is important for law enforcement to reach out to the children in the community.

"It doesn't cost a hiring of another 30 officers to take time out of the day and engage with the children," Clark said. "But it can still have the impact we need on the community."

Longtime resident Steven Skolnick presented an idea that he said he heard from a friend.

"I think it would be a good idea to have a law enforcement league," Skolnick said. "I remember when they had that in my hometown and it was a great idea."

Friday's discussion centered on the law enforcement pillar and will speak more to the next steps toward improving the issue of community violence. It deals with different ways law enforcement carries out it's duties and interact with community members within the areas they serve most. If time permits Nauser says the fourth pillar, re-entry, will be a topic of discussion as well.

The city will talk about its final recommendation, re-entry, at the next Community Violence Task Force meeting.