The seventh and final community policing meeting on Thursday night drew a typical crowd — with one exception.
Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton sat in the back. He’s been criticized by members of the public for not showing up to the summer’s series of town hall meetings, which were led by Sgt. Robert Fox. The city organized them to gather public input on the Columbia Police Department’s transition to community-oriented policing.
Burton didn’t make a speech, didn’t talk when the small groups began discussing Fox’s questions, but he did have something to say.
Burton’s been avoiding the meetings for a purpose: He wants the vision for community policing to be a grassroots effort, he said in an interview with the Missourian. He worried that, if he came, he’d be a distraction.
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