COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The mayor of Columbia said Monday night's shooting on Oak Street and Lincoln Drive explains why the violent crime task force is needed. The incident happened about six hours after the city's announcement of an expansion of the task force.
"To me, the fact that we had a case as recently as a few hours after that announcement really illustrates why it's necessary and why their work is so important," Mayor Brian Treece said Tuesday.
Treece, along with the Columbia Police and the Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco Department announced the expansion at 4 p.m. Monday.
Monday night around 10:50 p.m. Columbia police responded to Oak Street and Lincoln Drive for shots fired. A sergeant on the scene said the department believes the 24-year-old victim was shot on Oak Street and Lincoln Drive before driving his own vehicle to Jewell Avenue.
Police said the victim had non-life threatening injuries. Two residents in the area of Oak Street said their homes were hit by gunfire.
"We have now dedicated officers to this type of violent crime unit to really go after those short term sustained cycles to really disrupt that shooting cycle," Treece said.
The task force is being staffed by Columbia police officers, MU police officers, ATF agents and the Boone County sheriff's deputies.
Treece said the most significant change is that the officers are now federally deputized, meaning those officers can work with departments across city lines and have access to resources available through the ATF.
"They now have to full weight and resources of those collection agencies," Treece said. "With respect to ballistic testing and other intelligence-based analysis that they can go back and look at the trigger puller, where did the gun come from, how was it acquired, was there someone else pulling the strings behind that?"
Treece said the city is not dedicating any new resources financially to the task force.
"This is really a rededication to existing resources specifically focused on this type of violent crimes and specific illegal gun crimes," Treece said.
Treece and Columbia Police Officer's Association executive director Dale Roberts said the city continues to have issues with understaffing at the Columbia Police department because of financial issues.
"Overall I'm confident that's a positive step," Roberts said. "It assigns a small amount of officers from each department to some specific duties that they weren't doing before, but the reduction in crime will certainly help in the long run."
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