Columbia City Council Unanimously Approves Community-Oriented Policing Resolution

Feb 20, 2018

The Columbia City Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to begin planning a citywide community-oriented policing program.

The resolution directs City Manager Mike Matthes to design a “citywide program, transition plan, timeline and budget,” in continued collaboration with the police and community. 

Credit Meiying Wu

Community-oriented policing aims to reduce crime by building relationships between communities and police, addressing social issues and implementing long-term patrol assignments in designated neighborhoods.

First Ward Councilperson Clyde Ruffin helped draft the resolution. He says this moment was years in the making.
 

“We have an important opportunity tonight to say this is the spirit and vision of the community we desire,” Ruffin says. “This is the type of policing we require for our city and we are here to make that happen and to set that vision for future generations.”

Though many are on board with the plan, members of the council and the community voiced continued concerns about the cost and the number of police required to staff the project. 

But Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, president of Race Matters, Friends says though funding is important “distracts from the reason we are in this [position].” 

“So there’s a reason we have these communities that are marginalized and neglected because it was a political decision that previous councils and previous mayors made a decision about,” Wilson-Kleekamp says.

Instead she says the crux of community policing is “transforming leadership and transforming the practice of policing... to get different outcomes.” 

Matthes appointed Sgt. Robert Fox of the Columbia Police Department Saturday to “coordinate the collaboration effort” of the project.

The deadline to present the proposal will be August 31, 2018.