Public Comments on Community Policing

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COLUMBIA -  The scheduled public comment portion of Monday's city council meeting is set to hear from two different groups discussing the importance of community policing. It's a topic that's been widely discussed since the city's motion to move away from the practice after just a few months of it.

The two speakers, one a representative from Missouri Faith Voices, and another man, Timothy Love, are set to speak for the allotted five minutes before the meeting.

Missouri Faith Voices describes its prepared comment as planning to discuss "the importance of community policing and problems that may arise with a dismantling/severe overhaul of the current system."

Love describes his comment as talking on items such as: "the importance of forming a continuous bond between Columbia police and the community via empirical data, how over-policing actually contributes to crime, how the police and city council members become negligent when responding to crime with over-policing as opposed to anti-poverty programs, educational programs, gun control, etc." 

Scheduled public comments are requested by community members prior to the bi-weekly Monday meetings. Ward Four council member Ian Thomas says these comments are beneficial to the council's functioning.

"They help city council members know what’s really important to members of the public, they bring issues in front of city council members in a setting, in a public setting so everybody else knows that we’ve received this information, we’ve heard this," Thomas said.

As far as preparing for comments on community policing, Thomas says the council has heard from some of these groups for years, and while direct commentary from the council is not part of the scheduled public comment section, those comments are often revisited during the open comment section at the end of the meeting.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the Council Chamber, located in City Hall, 701 E. Broadway.