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Columbia Police Expand Community Outreach

The new policy would require police officers to wear their uniforms when performing off-duty security work.

  The Columbia Police Department is expanding its community policing efforts.  Bryana Larimer, a CPD spokesperson, said the department has expanded its Douglass Park Proactive Unit and turned it into the Community Outreach Unit.

“Community policing is really going to be where our officers, the officers in this unit, get out into the neighborhoods and that could be neighborhoods throughout all of Columbia and work with those residents in building relationships and understanding any concerns,” said Larimer.

In the Douglass Park Proactive Unit, the department would send two officers to Douglass Park to deal with rising crime in that specific area.  The officers in the Community Outreach Unit will be doing the same thing as the old unit, but it will be extended to more areas than Douglass Park.

There are currently two officers and one sergeant in the new unit.  Larimer said the department plans to increase the amount of officers to six and to add a lieutenant to the unit once they finish shifting officers around in the department.

Michael Trapp, Columbia’s second ward council member, said he thinks the new unit is a good initiative to help build trust between police officers and the community.

“To be able to build positive relationships to let young people know that police can be, you know, a force for good and a positive influence in their lives.  I think those kinds of activities are the most important,” Trapp said.

Trapp also said the new unit is a nice step toward devoting a small amount of resources, but in a dedicated way.

The department received approval to allocate $100,000 from the reserve budget to be used toward community policing efforts.