Constituent Newsletter

Apology to CPD Officers

October 3, 2018

Dear Constituent:

I am writing to share a letter I sent this morning to Dale Roberts, Director of the Columbia Police Officers Association, in response to a press release which referred to a statememnt I made during Monday's City Council meeting.

Dear Dale:

In response to your complaint about my statement during Monday’s City Council meeting, I apologize to all Columbia Police Department officers for giving the impression that I was criticizing them, which was not my intention at all. In fact, I was speaking in general terms, but I recognize my error in using careless language, and I wish to take this opportunity to emphasize my support for the courageous and difficult work undertaken by officers every day. As a member of the City Council, one of my goals is to improve officer safety and public respect for officers through better police-community relations.

The point I was making was that I was disappointed that the tone of Sgt. Fox’s plan/report at times embodies an “us versus them” mentality, when community policing requires a positive spirit of collaboration between police professionals and the general public. This is a complicated time as we work to improve local police-community relations in the shadow of a national conversation about police use of force in communities of color. Police departments across the country have been under attack in recent years from anti-racism activists who point to documented violations, and it is understandable that there are bruised feelings on the part of police officers. However, I believe that we need to move past these challenges and look to the future, in order to achieve our vision of safe communities and well-respected public safety officers.

Ian Thomas