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Columbia Makes Geoff Jones Official As Police Chief

Nathan Lawrence
Geoff Jones answers questions from press after being officially named Columbia Chief of Police Monday, Aug. 5. He has served in the position on an interim basis since early February.

The City of Columbia’s new police chief says his priorities will be to keep Columbia citizens, and its police officers, safe while building a community policing model based on trust and reflective of city values. 

Monday, the city named current interim police chief Geoff Jones to that position on a permanent basis, citing his long-time involvement in the community and on the police force, starting with his teen years, when Jones volunteered as a police cadet.

Speaking this morning to a crowd that included his grandmother, his wife and his children and nephews, Jones paid tribute to his fellow officers, regional law enforcement leaders and his mentors.

"I’m thankful for all of the support I’ve received from the community, other partners in the city, and the amazing members of the Columbia Police Department," Jones said. "This works because we work together. All of us."

Jones has served as interim chief since February. City Manager John Glascock said he believed there was no point in conducting an expensive national search based on Jones' interaction and engagement with staff and community groups.

Traci Wilson-Kleekamp is the president of the influential community group Race Matters, Friends. She says she didn’t necessarily expect a national search in Columbia, and that she looks forward to working with Jones.

“He has a lot of work on his plate to do – he has a lot of changing around to do," Wilson-Kleekamp said, "So I think our job as a community is to support him but also hold him accountable. I think that’s what we’re good at.”

Jones' appointment as Columbia Police Chief is effective immediately.

Janet Saidi is a producer and professor at KBIA and the Missouri School of Journalism.
Nathan Lawrence is an editor, documentary filmmaker and data journalist.