COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A virtual community policing town hall meeting held on Saturday addressed pressing concerns about local policing and redefine safety.
According to a release, multiple advocacy groups, Columbia Police Department and those who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system attended this meeting online at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The new release states that the advocacy groups invited Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey, Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones, and Major Brian Weimer of MUPD to share how they are handling concurrent crisis on the local level as policing across the country is reformed and reworked.
During the meeting, a few community members shared their testimonies addressing how race and immigration status has affected their outcomes in Columbia’s criminal justice system, as well as their vision for the path forward.
“I think that there's a really intentional conversation around public safety that we need to have," said Brittany Hughes the Columbia Regional organizer. "Public safety just in the bare minimum of who's doing what is in charge of what, but we really need to interrogate our definition of safety.”
The release states that this meeting follows an Attorney General’s vehicle stop report showing that racial discrepancies in vehicle stops are the highest it's been in 20 years.
Brittany Fatoma, the town hall leader said the collision wants to be a part of the process to address this report.
"No matter how they rename it or organize it," Fatoma said. "We want to be a part of the process and we want to hold them accountable and we want them to be transparent."
During the meeting community members asked if an an anti-racism educational course was being implemented in CPD officer trainings.
CPD officials said as of now there is not an anti-racism course implemented but that this could be something they discuss further.
Fatoma said this is something the collision would like to sees moving forward.
"There's just so much research on how that does change the behavior of officers," Fatoma said. "That's at the end of the day what we want. We want officers behavior to change, so they'll stop pulling over black and brown people."
According to the release this town hall is hosted by a coalition of community organizations including The WE Project; Worley Street Roundtable; Faith Voices of Columbia; COMo for Progress; Race Matter, Friends; and Columbia Supreme.
This town hall hosted over one hundred attendees. A previous town hall event attended by 68 community stakeholders addressed resource officers in area schools.