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City leaders: more work needs to be done with police and community relationships

Two shootings in central Columbia just days apart from each other leaving one teenager dead has some City leaders and Police officers expressing their views.

Compared to years past, Officer Jamal Castile with Columbia Police Department says, “I’ve seen a big change, which is really kind of surprising if you would have asked me this a couple of years ago.” Sgt. Michael Hestir agrees, “A couple of years ago , we were not enjoying that much support from the community.”

City leaders believe more can be done, even if answers right now are limited they believe it’s a work in progress. Bishop Lawson with the Youth Empowerment Zone in Columbia says the process is like a wheel, “the wheel of progress, when you have all these entities working together to make an effort but the wheel is still turning.”

Glenn Cobbins Sr. believes role reversing could help minimize the lack of respect between minority groups and police officers. “We gonna let the police put on what you call, “thug clothes,” and then have the thugs put on what you call a police uniform and reverse the roles to see what a disrespect and disconnect is, if we do this I believe that we can minimize the problem.”

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