The nature of law enforcement has changed over the past decade across the country. In the past, many police agencies had the “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” mentality when it came to reducing crime and working with the community and were either unwilling or unable to change how they interacted with members of the community. Society has evolved and adapted to changing our views on how we live, work and treat others. Law enforcement must stay current with societies needs and expectations for safety.
We have heard the term community policing in recent years but may not understand its concept. The idea of community policing is not new, infect is was first proposed in the 1960s but has been slow to be developed and implemented across the country. The idea is a police officer is assigned to one specific area and remains there to answer calls and conduct patrols. This allows the officer to get to know members of that community and become more engaged with them and learn about their concerns and what problems they may have. Understanding problems are the first step in developing a plan to solve those problems.
Columbia Police Department Community Outreach Program
The Columbia Police Department invested in the idea of community policing and began steps to implement it in 2009. By 2015 the Community Outreach Program had been implemented. This is a dedicated unit of officers who are working in selected areas to build strong relationships with community leaders and citizens to help address neighborhood concerns and to work on making neighborhoods with historic crime problems safer for current and future residents. This unit uses current crime data along with citizen input to be able to move to different neighborhoods of Columbia to help tackle crime before it becomes widespread and a serious problem in that area. With approval from the Columbia City Council, the unit will be expanding in the near future to add more officers.
Citizen and Business Involvement
Police officers are only part of the equation when it comes to community policing. Open and positive communication from citizens is key to the success of the police department and Columbia as a whole. The community outreach unit has several quarterly meetings open to all members of the community throughout the year. This gives citizens a chance to meet officers and voice concerns they have over a variety of issues. If would like to learn more, attend a meeting or reach out and speak with the Columbia Police Department. Working together, citizens and the police department will continue to make Columbia a great place to live.
USA Mortgages Serves Those Who Serve Our Community
Community Policing is just one example of how dedicated professionals are working every day to meet the needs of Columbia and continue to make us one of the best cities in the country to live in. We are working to help Columbia’s professionals with the Community Heroes Program. This program offers $500 in lender credits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and veterans to help with mortgage-related expenses. This is our way of giving back to those who work every day to make a difference by helping them to become part of the community through homeownership.