CPOA morale survey shows police morale is up

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COLUMBIA - Despite several months of dissatisfaction, the Columbia Police Officers Association’s morale survey shows “remarkable improvement”.

In the previous CPOA  survey, conducted in 2016, the majority of the results showed the culture of the Columbia Police Department was “toxic”. A majority of officers were also “unsatisfied” with their 12-hour patrol schedules.

“When Geoff Jones was appointed as the interim chief, I think everybody thought that was a good sign,” said CPOA executive director, Dale Roberts.

Interim Police Chief Geoff Jones was appointed in January after Ken Burton resigned, partially due to how he handled community policing efforts.

CPOA had a negative relationship with the former CPD police chief and former city manager, Mike Matthes, after they were denied access to a police officer morale survey the city conducted in 2016. A judge awarded CPOA $27,000 last June in that case.

The recent five question survey was conducted on Saturday using online software. Questions varied from “How satisfied are you with working conditions at the Columbia Police Department?” to “My morale is…?”

“Chief Jones has changed the policy to say 'I want you to do the right thing for the right reason'," Roberts said. “The officers really feel like they’re valued and appreciated and their now empowered to do their job without having to look over their shoulder and say 'Mother, may I'?"

93.33 percent of the people who took the survey said Jones’ recent changes make them “much more productive / able to do my job”.

Chief Jones is out of the office this week and was unable to be reached for comment.