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Columbia police chief meets with Citizens Police Review Board

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones met with the Citizens Police Review Board on Wednesday at city hall.

Chief Jones laid out his vision for community policing in the city as he spoke about the future of the community outreach unit with the board.

During the meeting Chief Jones said he is bringing back the old way of community outreach officers as he wants more officers out in the neighborhoods.

Last week the city's contract with Columbia Public Schools for school resource officers expired, as the city said the officers would be moved into the community outreach unit.

Darryl Smith, a board member said taking those officers out of schools is a tough decision.

"As budgets get tight, you can't have both," said Smith. "So you have to make some tough decisions and so it's a hard call. I think it's good to have officers in schools my personal opinion."

Police say the community outreach unit will have a renewed focus on working with schools.

Jones also said improving CPD's communication with the public is something they are working on.

While Smith believes lack of communication has led to some problems and miscommunication.

"I think communication is the key to any relationship," said Smith. "And if the police department can communicate with citizens. I think it will go a long way to improving relationships to understanding where, how police are doing things and why they're doing certain things, as well as why citizens feel the way they do and their opinions about what police are doing."

The board was created to provide an independent review of Columbia's police.

According to the City of Columbia, the Citizens Police Review Board focuses on an independent review of police misconduct, increasing police accountability and building community trust in the police. The board reviews appeals to the police chief's decisions on alleged police misconduct and hosts public meetings and educational programs for Columbia residents and police officers.

The board also reviews and makes recommendations on police policies, procedures and training and prepares and submits annual reports that analyze citizen and police complaints to the Columbia City Council.

During the meeting, Chief Jones didn't want to say much about CPD's budget as nothing is final, as it's currently a proposed budget right now. 

One member of the board asked if CPD is looking at getting social workers or other agencies to help when it comes to handling someone who has mental illness or a mental breakdown. 

Chief Jones said this is something like that has been discussed for a while now, but infrastructure is an issue.

Another member is asking for 2019 traffic stop breakdowns so they can analyze the information and see what’s happening.

The board talked about restraint policies amid ongoing protests sparked by George Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis.

During the last meeting several local residents expressed a need for change in the law enforcement system.

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Amber Tabeling

Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.

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