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CPD Promotions Announced

Parts of the key leadership at the Columbia Police Department are changing after Chief Ken Burton promoted Captain Dianne Bernhard to deputy chief and Sergeant Jill Schlude to captain.A report released earlier this year showed that the police department had a “toxic” environment and was plagued by distrust among officers.Both Columbia’s city manager and police chief believe the new promotions are a step in the right direction.City Manager Mike Matthes says filling the positions was one of a dozen tasks related to an internal review of the police department. He hopes the administrative changes will help fix the “toxic culture.””We’re not going to not fix that,” said Matthes. “You got to have the right talent to take you where you wanna go.”Matthes says he and Chief Burton looked at candidates from around the country, but the talent in Columbia exceeded their expectations. Burton says Sgt. Schlude and Capt. Bernhard believe in the future that both he and Matthes have for the department.”I don’t need yes people, but I think agreeing with the mission of the department is important, agreeing with me is not,” said Burton. “You surround yourself with good people, any good manager does that.”Capt. Bernhard says she plans to conduct patrol rides with officers to discuss how leaders can better serve them. She tells ABC 17 News that’s the best way to get officers to believe in the chief’s mission.Chief Burton expects to hold command staff accountable for connecting officers with the leadership at the department. He admits there may have been a disconnect within the department before, but believes the new changes are continued progress to move forward.”It’s fixed now as far as I’m concerned,” said Burton. “We’re moving forward. I’ve said it before, I don’t ask people to do anything illegal, unethical or immoral here. I ask them to do the things that are going to make us a better police department.”Even more changes will come out of the department considering the promotions of Bernhard and Schlude leave other vacant positions that will need to be filled. The new promotions take effect Sunday.

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