RE: Columbia Police Department - Yet Another Call to Do Better

Last night, Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) member Alex Hackworth asked Chief Jones about the demographic composition of the CPD force and Chief Jones said he didn't know. It sounded to me like Chief Jones believes the PRETEXT for the Sept 2, 2021 POLICE STOP -- fits a guardian-mindset practice of community-oriented policing AND his July 1 policy change.

Both CoMO for Progress and Race Matters, Friends (RMF) disagree. Also -- some other nonsense via the KOMU reporting (not posting the link cause it was terrible) -- but the last line of their reporting includes what we believe is an unacceptable excuse for CPD's engagement.

  • We don't say it's ok for patients to die because the doctor was tired.
  • We don't think it's ok for pilots to crash planes because they were tired.
  • White society seems to make lots of excuses for police shooting unarmed Black people in the back and dehumanizing them via bogus pre-text excuses to make traffic stops.

The quote from the KOMU article compounds the problem because it doesn't move us anywhere near the kind of institutional accountability we deserve.

"The board said fatigue and moonlighting can alter an officer's decision process."

CPD's actions, including the disparate racial outcomes related to vehicle stops, is an institutional and organizational problem that leadership has failed to fix. That's a much more truthful answer. Here are snapshots from the use-of-force reports - some raised by Alex Hackworth - that Chief Jones could not answer.

We have reviewed CPD’s Use of Force reports for the past 4 years (2016-2019) and see much room for improvement because most of the police force is male, white, young, and inexperienced. We will be forwarding a letter today to the CPRB chair for consideration at the NEXT meeting. In the meantime, we think these are important questions for the CPRB board to tackle:

  1. Discuss the lack of diversity in CPD and the disparities in the use of force within the department by age and experience?
  2. CFP and RMF believe that representational diversity is meaningless without an institutional culture that promotes and enacts anti-racist philosophy and practices.
  3. What is the CPRB's position on whether inclusion is important to transforming CPD, and if it is, how well does the board believe issues of equity and inclusion are being addressed?
  4. The community policing update report provides a lackluster response. In what ways should the Mayor and the council pursue more detailed and substantive responses from CPD?
  5. Will the CPRB ask Chief Jones to publicly discuss the disparities in use of force, specifically the handcuffing of Black but not White drivers in stops that do not lead to arrest?
  6. Why was the annual reporting of handcuffing retroactively ended in 2019 to not include reporting data in 2018?
  7. Will the CPRB ask Chief Jones to explicitly and specifically address what steps are being taken to transform the institutional culture of CPD?
  8. Does the CPRB board believe CPD should implement an anti-racist curriculum?
  9. Will the CPRB board ask CPD to report back monthly about how they are specifically addressing their institutional culture through education and training?
  10. When will CPD publicly present a strategic plan for implementing community-oriented policing to the board?
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