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Friday, August 1, 2014

Joe Bernhard promoted to PR Unit Supervisor at Columbia Police Department

Bernhard hopes to make the department more open to Columbia citizens.

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Sgt. Joseph Bernhard, the new Public Relations Unit supervisor for the Columbia Police Department, sits at his desk in his office. Bernhard moved into the position after Jill Schlude was promoted to captain and took over the Operations Support Division.

Brent Pearson/Senior Staff Photographer

Jan. 25, 2013

Earlier this month, Columbia Police Department promoted Sergeant Joe Bernhard to Public Relations Supervisor.

Originally from north St. Louis, Sgt. Bernhard said he always wanted to be a member of law enforcement. Partway through his college career, Bernhard joined the army. Upon finishing training school in West Texas, he was stationed in Presidio of San Francisco and later in Atlanta. After the army, Sgt. Bernhard finished college and received his four-year degree. He became a police officer and began serving in Dallas.

“I’ve always liked police work because of the help it brings to people and the justice it establishes in communities,” Bernhard said.

In 1997, Bernhard came back to Missouri to join CPD. He chose Columbia because he liked the medium-sized community and was ready to be back in the “Show-Me” state.

Taking on this new position as Public Relations Supervisor, Bernhard will be overseeing various aspects of CPD. He is in charge of the public information officer, who deals with the media. He will fill in for the position when the officer is unavailable.

Bernhard also supervises the Officer of Neighborhood Services. This position handles building codes, inspectors, landlord tenants, reviews building plans and sets up the neighborhood watch in neighborhoods of Columbia.

Bernhard plans to build on previous experience organizing various volunteer programs that specialize in getting the community involved in with the police department. This includes recruiting and training volunteers for crime prevention. He also runs the Citizens Academy, which trains community members on CPD functions as well as the Cadet Program, which trains explorers for CPD. On top of that, he runs the Employee Recognition Committee.

In the Unit Supervisor position, Bernhard said he hopes to improve programs that involve members of the Columbia community with CPD. He would like to improve the current use of social media, such as the department's website and Facebook page. He hopes to facilitate increased communication between CPD and Columbia residents.

“I would like to solve the communication issue and make information more readily available." Bernhard said. "I am currently updating the website and I hope to create a Twitter page alongside our current Facebook page and eventually have them all be connected. Information about police reports, volunteer criteria and ways to get involved will be able to be accessed."

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