CPD hires former officer as new police trainer

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department hired former police officer Andre Cook as the new full time civilian police trainer.

Cook has worked in law enforcement for 20 years, and worked as a lieutenant and chief of detectives unit at the Fulton Police Department.

Cook's position was previously held by a sworn officer. The new position is civilian because he will be training and not acting as a law enforcement officer. The position was created as part of the 2016 fiscal budget.

Cook's new role allows more officers to be out in the streets and in other areas of the department.

"That commissioned officer will be reallocated to the department so they can be used in other areas," Cook said.

Cook said a lot of the training the officers go through is in class room procedures they need in order to maintain their status as officers, in addition to staying up to date on laws and learning how do their jobs effectively.

"They have different curriculum areas as far as skill development and legal studies in order to keep the officers current in the things they need to go out and do their job on a daily basis," Cook said. 

Jennifer Bowden, a Columbia resident said she is happy with the department's decision to hire a new police trainer. However, she said she has some concerns since he is a retired officer.

"I think it's good they have  someone with so much experience, but I wonder if the beat cops are keeping him abreast with what's current and going on. If you're not actually in the streets, how could you be aware of what's going on?" Bowden asked.

While some may be reluctant, other residents said they are not worried at all.

Margaret Frye said she is not concerned Cook is retired.

"I am not worried about someone who is retired being hired, because that person has experience and may know a whole lot more," Frye said. "You can't go wrong with someone with experience."

Cook said his position will benefit the citizens in that it frees up officers to focus on working in other areas of the city.