Newly released records show some CPD officers aren't happy

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COLUMBIA – Columbia Police officers surveyed by the city said they want to to see improvements within the department. The records were recently released after nearly a two-year battle between the city and the Columbia Police Officer’s Association.  

KOMU 8 News went through the 57-page document and found some police officers aren’t happy.

One issue: long working hours.

“After four or five years of 12-hour shifts the officers are worn out,” one officer said.

Another said, "12 hour shifts result in tired officers who just aren't as effective or as safe as they should be."

One officer said the long shifts are "horrible and unhealthy."

The survey asked how CPD could improve morale within the department.

One officer responded with, “There’s about 100 answers here.”

Another said a simple smile from staff around the department would help. 

KOMU 8 News found 17 officers responded to all of the survey questions by stating the police officer's association would have to speak on his or her behalf.

The association's executive director, Dale Roberts, said it did its own survey before Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes ordered one.

“The city manager, I think, didn’t accept or trust the results of our survey, so he wanted do one of his own," Roberts said. 

The CPOA filed a suit after the city refused to release its results in 2016, which was ruled a violation of the Missouri Sunshine Law.

Roberts said the records show the officers aren’t happy with their salaries and the loss of the department’s career development program.

He said having to wait two years to receive the survey results was frustrating and expensive.

“At least we have the money to invest in litigation, but it’s sad that it was necessary,” he said.  

Roberts said CPOA might have helped the public stay informed on this issue.

“In a way, I think we’ve probably provided a public service, that we’ve sort of opened the channels up and made clear what the Sunshine Law allows and the city should be doing,” he said.

But Roberts said the battle with the city isn’t over yet. He said receiving the survey results was just round one, and round two will center on the cost of getting the records. CPOA said it had to pay close to $800 to receive email records from the police department.

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