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COLUMBIA- The city of Columbia will hold the first of seven community policing meetings Wednesday evening. Each meeting is set in a different city ward in an effort to make the meetings accessible to all residents. Wednesday's meeting will be at Daniel Boone Regional Library.

The meetings are supposed to gather the community’s input on the new community policing plans. Columbia Police Sgt. Robert Fox said it is important for residents to attend the meetings.

“This is an opportunity to give input on policing in Columbia for the next 20 years. The meetings are an opportunity for the kind of policing that they want in their neighborhoods or communities,” Fox said.

City Manager Mike Matthes appointed Sgt. Fox in February, as the head of Columbia’s community policing efforts. Fox said he will use the community’s input in the plan he presents to the city council in August.

“The plan is going to be a collection of the input from people in the community and all stakeholders,” Fox said.  

Fourth ward Council member, Ian Thomas, is anxious to see what Fox has planned.

“This is a midpoint of a big cultural transition,“ Thomas said.

The meetings will start with group discussion on the current state of Columbia’s policing. The room will then break into smaller table discussions. Each table will have an officer there to hear ideas.

Residents are asked to define what community policing means for Columbia.  President of Columbia’s NAACP, Mary Ratliff, already has her own definition of the term.

“Community policing says to me that the people who are in the area have established a relationship with the people that they serve. So, that when crimes happen or when things happen that people will feel comfortable contacting that officer,”  Ratliff said.

For information on upcoming meetings head to