Columbia is facing a gun violence crisis.
Nearly 500 people have been shot in Columbia since 2015 and the numbers are on the rise. In fact, we’ve seen a 35% jump in shootings with injuries with 81 people shot, including 16 killed, in our city over the past year alone.
Unfortunately, officer vacancies at the Columbia Police Department have nearly doubled over that same time period leaving our families under greater threat and fewer officers to protect us.
This is a recipe for disaster. We cannot end gun violence unless we give CPD the tools they need. Our plan does that and more.
Hire 90 New Officers and Bring CPD to Full Strength
In order for Columbia to be truly safe, our police department must have the coverage and manpower to devote to our neighborhoods and all corners of our city. If we want officers that get out of their cars and have the ability to walk our community we must make sure we have the manpower that allows this to come to fruition.
Implement a 10-Year Contract
The average tenure of an officer can’t be 3 to 5 years. We need officers with lived experience, officers that have had the opportunity to learn our community.
To tackle our retention challenge, we will implment a contract.
The contract will feature:
- Step pay increases in years three, five and eight with a retention bonus at each interval
- In order to be eligible officers must acquire additional certifications, training
Refocus Community Policing Efforts
From programs like Police & Paintbrushes, to CPD’s Ice Cream Truck, we need to invest in our Department so that we can bolster efforts that allow our officers to connect with out community.
We have to fill vacancies so that we have the capacity to focus on building/strengthening the relationships between our officers and the communities they serve.
Provide our officers with resources – Take Home Cars
Studies show that take-home cars being visible in neighborhoods can make an impact in reducing crime. In addition, it can help boost officer moral. We must dedicate ourselves to reaching 1:1 with take-home cars for our officers.
Provide our officers with resources – Home Loan Program
Officers living in our neighborhoods increase community trust. We must encourage their presence in our neighborhoods and provide a pathway to home ownership.
We must reintroduce the CPD Mortgage Loan Program.
Advocate for Bond Reform
We must provide hope and opportunity. Once a debt to society has been paid, we must ensure our citizens that are re-entering our community have the resources to be successful.
Bolstering our Code Enforcement Efforts
Our city is comprised of the most amazing neighborhoods and we have to protect them. The City of Columbia has an ordinance that tackles absentee landlords and nuisance properties. However, our City has stopped short of tackling the challenge. While the ordinance is a good start, without the actual manpower to enforce it, it is worthless.
We must provide the resources to make sure we are addressing these problem properties that can become the breeding ground for unfortunate activities in our neighborhoods.
Invest in Safe Infrastructure
Proper, equitable infrastructure is proven to create safer environments for all communities. Lighting, sidewalks at their very core are essential. Further, as technology advances we must continue to utilize those advancements to create better synergy between first responders and our community.