We must continue to support the Columbia Police Department’s growth and improvement through creative funding strategies. There are a multitude of resources the department would like to pursue if the money were available. We need to be more aggressive in pursuing funding and partnerships to make these resources a reality.
The city has been able to provide raises and more competitive wages over the past few years, ensuring recruitment and retention. A higher focus on personnel has proven to be effective, but finding funding for advanced technology will enhance public safety tactics. For example, the city currently has two shot-spotters, with a need for 6-7 to cover the entire city. Technology has become extremely advanced in combating violence and needs to be obtained for the entire city.
As a city, we must continue to promote community policing. We must continue to train our officers as peacekeepers and community builders. We should also continue initiatives like “roll call” so that community members see transparency from law enforcement and feel connected to them.
We have to address the systemic issues that lead to crime trends in the city and partner with organizations to address the needs of the youth, the parents, and the school system. Education is of utmost importance when it comes to breaking the cycle of crime. We must partner with organizations, churches, and neighborhoods to help end the desensitizing of gun violence in certain areas. If areas are desensitized to gun violence, they don’t report it regularly.
The city should lead the way in collaborative practices that will help our youth, parents, and school systems.