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Columbia City Council appoints new police review board members amid board struggles


The Columbia City Council appointed five new members to the Citizens Police Review Board on Monday night.

The board has experienced a lot of drama recently, as resignations have poured in.

The appointments were made after public interview sessions held by the City Council on Monday.

The council appointed Edward Barnes, Xavier Scruggs, Reece Ellis, Laura Gutierrez Perez and Stephanie Coleman as the new members of the review board.

"I've seen both sides I talk to my students all the time about their fears and their lack of trust with law enforcement and it bothers me I want my students to feel safe," Stephanie Coleman, new member of the board and former police officer, said.

The council asked candidates what traits they have that would make them successful and what bias they may have going into the position.

"I'm not someone who needs to be right, necessarily," new Board Member Reece Ellis said. "But I am someone who wants to be part of a conversation."

It has not been easy for the board as it lost three of its members over the summer some due to a contentious meeting between police officials and board members.

One former member, Michael Williams, resigned in August. Delsie Bonaparte and William Adkins resigned in July. And Robert Overmann and Laura Perez's terms are up in November.

Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe said the Columbia Police Department has received 65 complaints, but the board only took one appeal.

Monthly meetings have not been happening, but in case there is an appeal, the city said it is important to have a fully staffed board.

Three of the people appointed tonight will start immediately and two of them will start Nov. 1.

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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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