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Columbia PD Adds Officers to Community Outreach Unit

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The Columbia Police Department announced Tuesday that four officers are joining the Community Outreach Unit.  

Officers Scott Lenger, Matt Rodriguez, Gamal Castile, and Phillip Shull will be working with the outreach unit.

“These are good officers who are in line with our mission and values,” Community Outreach Unit Supervisor Michael Hestir said.

The Community Outreach Unit is a pilot program to bring a new style of policing to Columbia. The goal of the unit is to spur communication between officers and citizens, while also rebuilding community partnerships. The four new officers will be paired with each other and assigned to specific neighborhoods.

“Now we can reach more neighborhoods in this community and really try to build those relationships with more citizens,” Public Information Officer Bryana Larimer said.

Hestir said the teams are doing more than just patrolling.

“Our officers are getting out on foot, meeting people door to door,” he said. “They are staying in their areas for extended periods of time, making friends with the citizens who live there, and becoming a part of the neighborhood community.”

Hestir said the teams could help provide additional resources to those in the community. The new officers official start date is not set, but Hestir said they are tentatively scheduled to start their new assignments on February 1st.  

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