Police Union President, Community-Policing Advocates to Speak at Monday Council Meeting

Jul 2, 2018

Police officers and community policing will once again be topics of conversation at the Columbia City Council meeting Monday.

Alan Mitchell, the president of the Columbia Police Officers' Association, is slated to provide public comment regarding the conclusion of the organization's collective bargaining, which comes after the release of survey responses from rank and file officers critical of City Hall and police department leadership.

And a representative of Race Matters, Friends is expected to discuss community policing, which was the focus of several meetings across the city this summer.

  

Racial disparities in traffic stops, community policing and low officer morale have been discussed in meetings in recent months. Conversations about community policing in Columbiahave focused on building trust between officers and citizens, as well as ensuring officers have enough resources.

The survey responses released Wednesday showed officers were critical of leaders at City Hall and the police department. Those surveys, which were done in 2016 and released last week under a judge's order, found a dislike for 12-hour workdays and a lack of support from and trust of superiors.

After the police union released in 2016 an internal survey in which several officers cited a “toxic” work environment City Manager Mike Matthes conducted his own survey, which found similar complaints.

The council will also consider other items on Monday:

The Downtown and Business Loop community improvement districts will submit their budgets for fiscal year 2019. The Downtown district budget includes projects such as seasonal banners and decorations and increased sidewalk cleaning, according to a letter from the district. Also, the Business Loop district allocated $20,000 for crosswalk enhancements.

Additionally, at a pre-meeting work session, the council will review whether to increase the amount of wine or beer someone can purchase at a time from two drinks to four at the Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival.

The City Event Committee has recommended denying the increase, according to a city memo. The drink limit was increased on a trial basis to three drinks in 2015 before returning to two in following years.