CPD’s “Use of Force” Policy
June 4, 2017
Thank you if you were one of the many constituents who responded to my May 23rd newsletter, acknowledging the tragedy of a shooting death involving an officer of the Columbia Police Department (CPD) and engaging the public in an open discussion of CPD’s “use of force” policy.
As I said at the time, I understand this policy is well-regarded by experts, that Police Chief Ken Burton led the effort to develop and adopt the policy several years ago, and that it was followed correctly in this situation. There are clearly situations in which it is appropriate for law enforcement officers to use force - even lethal force - and the “use of force” policy is a public document that lays out criteria to be used by police commanders and officers.
It is also fully appropriate for Columbia voters and other residents to have access to and provide feedback on all of our public policies, and so I ask you to take a look at the “use of force” policy (formally titled, “Response to Resistance”) and share your thoughts:
Other public policy issues, such as access to mental health, addiction treatment, and social/economic support services, are also relevant and important. In my opinion, the inadequate provision of these services leads to catastrophic long-term problems that are dumped on the nation’s courageous and hard-working police officers to deal with - often in violent and dangerous situations.
To help address these various challenges, I believe that a well-designed and fully-funded program of community-oriented policing will offer tremendous benefits in preventing crime, helping people access the services they need, and ensuring community safety. These expanded police responsibilities come at a cost, but I believe, with effective community engagement, Columbia residents will support such efforts.
Following February’s unanimously-adopted City Council Resolution, “declaring the need for a community engagement process about policing,” the City is working with local groups to design a suitable process, and I anticipate that we will announce details in the near future.
Protected Bike Lanes on Forum
Thanks, also, for all of the feedback I received on the proposal to install temporary “Protected Bike Lanes” on the section of Forum Boulevard between Green Meadows and Woodrail Avenue, as an experiment/demonstration project.
As I expained in my April 2nd newsletter, this quarter-mile section of roadway has two lanes in each direction, even though Forum Boulevard north and south of this section has just one lane in each direction. Noting that the additional lanes provide no overall increase in road capacity, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission has raised the idea of an experimental project to connect several neighborhoods with a safe, attractive bicycle connection all the way to the MKT Trail, Downtown Columbia, and the MU campus.
According to a summary and analysis of public input on this topic, about 58% of the 95 constituents who responded to my email support this idea, while about 35% oppose it, and 7% are neutral.
I also discussed the proposal with representatives of several homeowner organizations in the neighborhood of Forum and Green Meadows, and most of those attending that meeting were strongly opposed to this idea. While I agree with their observation that very few bicyclists currently use this section of roadway versus hundreds of cars during the peak hour, the point of this proposal is to create safe options and the main reason there are so few cyclists at present is the lack of safety.
The backdrop to this idea is the question of whether Forum should be expanded from 2 lanes to 4 lanes between Chapel Hill and Woodrail, at a cost of about $13 million. I continue to oppose this project because I believe it is an unjustified expense to taxpayers.
Citizen Survey Results 2016
The results of the City's 2016 citizen survey are now online - you can view the results here:
I will hold Constituent Conversations on Sundays June 4th and 25th, 2-4pm at Dunn Bros. Coffee.