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Columbia Police Department releases 2016 internal affairs report

Columbia police officers responded to 74,566 calls for service and had a total of 150,874 contacts with citizens in 2016, according to the department’s internal affairs report, released Wednesday.

Of the 150,874 contacts, officers arrested 4,836 people, an increase of 11.1 percent compared to 2015.

“We want to be transparent,” said Brian Tate, a sergeant in the Internal Affairs Unit. “We want to show the public what their officers are out there doing, and give them an insight about the dangers they face, the contacts they’re making and obviously when they’re using resistance.”

The report said officers used force in 391 incidents, or one-fourth of 1 percent of all citizen contacts. Overall, officers had to use force in 8 percent of total arrests.

Officers drew their guns 162 times in 2016, but according to the report, officers never fired their weapons in defense or self-defense.

Officers used a Taser 57 times and “other physical force” 49 times. The police department used its armored personnel carrier on 10 occasions.

The number of times officers used force increased by 11 percent from 2015 to 2016, but the average per number of citizen contacts remained around one-fourth of 1 percent.

Tate said the increase in incidents involving force isn’t a concern for the department at this time.

“What we need to be reminded of is our officers respond to what the suspect does,” Tate said. “We never preemptively decide that we’re just going to randomly point our gun at somebody. There’s a reason for it. That’s why we document that to make sure that our officers are doing that when it’s required.”

One incident in which an officer used force is still under investigation, but all others were found to be in compliance with the department’s guidelines and policy when they respond to resistance.

The police department received 66 complaints from citizens alleging police misconduct in 2016, including complaints alleging “discourteous, disrespectful or discriminatory treatment.”

Of those 66 complaints, the department concluded that 23 were unfounded, 20 were exonerated and six were sustained.

CPD also received 116 compliments from residents in 2016. In 2014, the department received 47 compliments and in 2015 the department received 77.

Notes, balloons and flowers were left on the department’s steps following the killings of five Dallas police officers in July 2016.

“Sometimes the tragic events remind us to be thankful when our officers are doing the good things,” he said. “I think, overwhelmingly, our officers are out there doing great things every single day, it’s nothing new.”

2016 Internal Affairs Report.
2015 Internal Affairs Report.
2014 Internal Affairs Report.

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