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CPD changes application to encourage larger pool of applicants

The Columbia Police Department has made changes to its application requirements, as part of its effort to fill 14 current vacancies in the force.

The change is to the application’s educational requirement. Before Aug. 14, it was required that applicants have a college degree, but since then, a high school diploma will suffice.

In July, City Manager Mike Matthes said the change “enables us to capture veterans returning from Afghanistan who don’t have the college but are clearly experienced and capable.”

At last night’s City Council meeting, Matthes and Police Chief Ken Burton said the new requirement will open the door for minority applicants, which addresses concerns raised by the community. After a listening tour, which included community meeting hosted by the NAACP, Burton said “a major concern of our community is that we do not reflect the demographics of our city, as a police department.”

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