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City leaders address downtown gun violence


City leaders say they are in communication with the Columbia Police Department and Chief of Police Jeff Jones and are working to curb some of the downtown shootings.

With several gun violence incidents in the past few weeks, community members have expressed concerns and are calling on city leaders to step up.

Reverend James Gray, a community leader, said it is vital to invest in more officers.

 "What I'm afraid of is people are really in danger of losing their lives. we need to invest in our city and invest in protecting our city." Gray said.

Gray said one way to help fight crime is by adding more officers to patrol the city.

"We need to invest in more officers, more trained officers, good officers," Gray said.

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said the city recently hired new officers.

"Gun violence and public safety have been a major initiative both increasing the number of police officers we have, and we've added now 12 new police officers without raising taxes," Treece said.

Toni Messina, Communications Outreach Supervisor with CPD, said the department is understaffed but emphasizes officers connecting with the community.

"We are also making greater connections with organizations such as neighborhood associations, schools and businesses to get officers individually and personally connected with individuals," Messina said.

Ward 1 City Councilwoman Pat Fowler, who serves the downtown district, said the city manager has control of the city's operations.

"Operations of the city are within the exclusive control of the city manager who implements the policies established, with public input processes, by the council," Fowler said.

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Leila Mitchell

Leila is a Penn State graduate who started with KMIZ in March 2021. She studied journalism and criminal justice in college.


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