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A closer look at CPD decision to dissolve Traffic Unit

ABC 17 News continued to look into public safety in Columbia Monday after learning the police department is eliminating its traffic unit.

ABC 17 News broke the story Friday following a leaked email from the department, saying all officers in the Traffic Unit will be moved to the Community Outreach Unit.

So what does the Community Outreach Unit do and what are its goals for the future?

Deputy Chief Jill Schlude said in an email Monday that there’s “much more to come on this in the next 60 days or so when officers are selected for the unit. It will be firmly rooted in the community policing concept, with a focus on the three neighborhoods to be determined by council in the near future.”

ABC 17 News also asked why CPD didn’t notify the Boone County Sheriff’s Department or the Missouri State Highway Patrol about the change, as they sometimes work together on calls, specifically traffic or crash related.

“I am not sure what you are referring to as far as traffic/crash related calls that we work with them on or why we would notify them,” Schlude said. “Since this doesn’t change the status of our crash team (investigates fatal/serious crashes) or DWI efforts there was really no need to notify anyone. It was an administrative decision to reallocate personnel based on a specific need.”

She said officers in the Community Outreach Unit will still respond to calls in their assigned geographic area when its determined.

Schlude said the change should take place in the next 60 days or so.

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