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Mayor: State oversight not needed for Columbia police

The discussion continued in Columbia whether or not there should be state oversight of police departments.

On Monday the Missouri Municipal League met to discuss citizen police review boards versus state oversight.

It is a topic that has been highly debated since the controversy in Ferguson this year.

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid said that kind of involvement from the state would be too much for Columbia.

“Frankly from a self interest standpoint I feel like something like that would be overly intrusive for my community and I don’t think it will help us,”said McDavid.

McDavid said he understands the importance of oversight which is why Columbia is one of the first cities in the state to create a citizens review board.

Columbia has had one for the past six years and the number of appeals to go to the board has continued to get smaller over those years.

This past year there was only one appeal brought to the review board.

The mayor says another layer of review would be redundant for Columbia.

The reason McDavid gave was that everything seems to be working well right now and everyone knows the role they are supposed to play.

“I have trouble seeing how that would work and the reason I say that is our chief of police interacts closely with police review board, and each party understand the expectations of the other party. So there is communication.” said McDavid.

Former St. Louis mayor Clarence Harmon who was also once the police chief gave his opinion on Monday.

He said he feels taking power out of a community and moving it to the state level wouldn’t go over well with the police nor residents.

Missouri lawmakers have filed more than 40 bills stemming from the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, including one for more state oversight for police departments.

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