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Task force continues community policing discussion

Members think increased police trust could help solve crimes.

March 13, 2014

The Mayor’s Task Force on Community Violence spent the majority of its meeting time Wednesday discussing the idea of community policing in Columbia, carrying over the debate from its Feb. 26 meeting.

Community policing has been brought up consistently at task force meetings, but was fully addressed for the first time Feb. 26. The group plans to make formal recommendations to Mayor Bob McDavid in November.

“I think it’s going to take some intense, specific cultural training by the police and other private security firms,” task force member David Thomas, who received a doctorate in education administration from MU, said of the implementation of community policing.

In a past interview with The Maneater, Michael Trapp, co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Violence, said community policing involves the assignment of officers to a specific patrol area, where they are expected to proactively get to know the area and its community members.

Task force members acknowledge that community policing will be a major step in race relations between community members and policing organizations, Thomas said.

“We’re dealing with a racial situation,” Thomas said. “We have to address it.”

Task force members spoke about the different problems they believe community policing could address.

“Without the trust of the community, the police will not be able to solve violent crimes,” Trapp said.

Thomas said he believes the recommendations the task force will give to the mayor will receive the attention they deserve.

“I feel that it will be a concern of many citizens,” Thomas said. “Just as the community is looking to our task force, they then will be looking to the mayor and the city council to be assured that policies are presented and implemented across all departments that are applicable; not just the police department, but basically all governmental departments within the city.”

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