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CPD chief: “We need more police officers”

The Columbia Police Department is tweaking its policy on the number of officers in patrol cars. ABC 17 News was the first to report on the CPD policy to put two officers in every vehicle for every shift. Now after a few weeks, Chief Ken Burton said that policy will change.

Now, one officer will be in a vehicle for day shifts, and at night, you’ll still see two officers in each vehicle. Burton said it’s spreading resources thin but it’s necessary.

“We want to make sure that officers feel safe out there, and during the night time hours most of the calls that they do respond to require two officers anyway. So, it makes sense to have them both in the same car,” said Chief Ken Burton with Columbia Police Department.

With the extra officer in each car comes slower response times for lower priority calls, which has caught the attention of Rep. Caleb Jones, a republican from Columbia.

Jones told ABC 17 News on Monday that his neighbor had to wait about an hour for police to show up after their home alarm went off.

Burton said the department doesn’t have enough officers to respond quickly to every call.

Jones said something has got be done and it starts with CPD funding — Burton agreed.

“It is a funding issue. We need more police officers, we’ve never said anything other than that. We need about 51 right now — Just based on the workload analysis that we’ve done,” said Burton.

Burton said Columbia is a growing city and the police force has not grown with it. He said there is not enough money right now to hire more officers.

Click on the link for the full story on what Rep. Caleb Jones said to ABC 17 News.

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