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Disconnect Between Agencies

Fighting crime in Columbia and Boone County looks to be creating a divide between law enforcement agencies.Earlier this week, ABC 17 News reported the Boone County Sheriff is having deputies serve more warrants in city limits to help crack down on crime. Back in November, Columbia police began a Ceasefire Initiative for the same reasons.Even with the two departments working toward the same goal, there seems to be a breakdown that began a few months ago.The Ceasefire Initiative was started after, and in just two weeks, officers responded to six confirmed shootings with more than 50 bullets hitting cars, home and victims. Around that time, Columbia police were moving officers from the Street Crimes Unit, meant to deal with this type of crime, back onto patrols. Sheriff Dwayne Carey says deputies used to pass information about crimes in the city along to that unit.”The issue is my guys didn’t think there was anything being done with that information,” Carey said.Columbia police say something was being done. To provide it the department started that initiative. A news release on November 15 showed the department and other agencies, including the Boone County Sheriff’s Department partnered up in response to the recent string of shootings. Now ABC 17 News is finding out that was not completely true.”We kind of upset the sheriff here a while back,” Chief Ken Burton said. “We included them in a presser saying the Sheriff’s Department was involved. His line level folks knew about it, but he didn’t know about it; he was out on vacation.Sheriff Carey says it was a down right lie.”We’re not part of the Ceasefire Initiative,” Carey told ABC 17 News. “And to be honest with ya, I don’t know what the Ceasefire Initiative is.””So he got a little upset I understand,” Burton said.In fact, Burton says the police initiative was put together by his team. He says he didn’t even find out about it until about the same time the sheriff did, pointing toward miscommunication within one agency, and between the two.With Sheriff Carey’s plan to have deputies serve more warrants within the city, ABC 17 News asked if the two leaders discussed that matter.Carey said,”We visited about it and moved on.””Well, I talked to him the other day,” Burton said. He called and told me after the media had it that he’d talked to some folks in the media and what he’d said. That was the first time I’d talked to him.”This all comes less than a year after an outside consultant did a review of the Columbia Police Department and found it to have a “toxic environment.” Still, Sheriff Carey and Chief Burton say officers and deputies work well together on a daily basis, even with the men giving orders not seeing eye to eye.ABC 17 News’ Janai Norman asked Chief Burton, “If you and the Sheriff aren’t on the same page, whether your guys are or not, that has to have some negative effect.””No, I think the Sheriff and I are on the same page,” said Burton. “Our job is law enforcement.”Both sides agree they’re tired of the increasing violence.”All I know is it seems like every time I’m watching Channel 17 News, I’m hearing about a robbery or a shooting it seems like almost every night anymore,” Sheriff Carey said. “I’m as fed up with the shots fired things as the sheriff is,” Burton said. “It’s frustrating to us as well.”They also agree there’s a direct correlation between drugs and violent crime, even estimating as many as nine out of ten shootings are related to narcotics.Sheriff Carey says his deputies are doing warrant round-ups and increased stops in addition to serving more search warrants in the city limits. Chief Burton admits officers have dropped the ball when it came to serving search warrants in the past. The Chief said, “We were just arbitrarily deciding, ‘okay, there’s not enough guys at work today, we’ll run it tomorrow.’ We had a narcotics warrants, we waited 8 days to serve it, the narcotics we thought were going to be there was gone, and we took a beating over that.””Probable cause that we develop that there’s drugs in the house, or weapons in the house, or something like that…we’ll go serve that warrant,” Sheriff Carey said.The Sheriff says his department isn’t taking a chance, but instead making a change to try to cut down on drugs and the crime they spawn.”I think he’s been given some bad information, ” Burton said. “We’re just very careful about it. If we’re going to bash somebody’s door in and go into their house with guns drawn, we need to have a darn good reason for doing it.”Sheriff Carey says breaking down doors isn’t the only way to break the crime trend.

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