Crime Prevention in Columbia, Missouri

My home town has become big on crime prevention.  However, in the last two years, violent crime has risen, significantly.  Obviously, we aren’t very good at it.  I know there are problems with the Columbia Police Department, but it wasn’t until recently that I figured out exactly what they were.

For starters, the CPD requires 60 college credit hours or 30 college credit hours and experience (military or law enforcement).  Starting pay is $19.92/hour.  The Boone County Sheriff’s Department requires a high school diploma.  Starting pay is $19.95/hour.

I’m not going to argue that a less educated police officer is better, it isn’t.  I want my men & women in blue to have a clue.  However, it doesn’t make sense to pay the city officers less.  I realize there is a structure involved for paying higher starting wages for those with education (I used to work for the city), I also know this isn’t utilized very often (remember that job I just mentioned?).

Our low starting wage isn’t that appealing… anyone looking to become a police officer in Central Missouri can hop right over to the Sheriff’s Department and get a job that pays better and while being a deputy to take classes in criminal justice, that the sheriff’s department helps pay for.  Seriously, the city isn’t even in the competition.

And we’ve cut their funding… Sure, we got them a new SWAT-style vehicle that was worth a lot of money and we’ve bought some new cars and body cameras and I’m all for giving them the tools to do their jobs… but the city hasn’t been handing out raises in a while and that means all those highly trained officers with college credits and experience are looking for better jobs.

We don’t really have the officers to respond to crimes in progress, let alone crime prevention.  And because we are so busy chasing our tails, attempting to capture bad guys after the fact, the department is losing even more money (another round of budget cuts in the future), because they aren’t issuing the fines for traffic violations like they should be… because we don’t have the officers to do it… because we don’t pay our officers a competitive wage for the minimum requirements.  Being a police officer might be a calling, but people still like to be financially compensated for it (I would write, but not publish if my books weren’t selling… and find a different job… So would any author).

This problem is recent.  I remember growing up in a town that was filled with police officers.  Crime prevention wasn’t a goal to achieve, it just happened because we had enough officers to handle the needs of the city.  So, I’m not sure where to put the blame or point the finger… I just know that we cannot have effective crime prevention programs without enough police officers to fulfill all the roles and we do not have the police officers.

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1 Comment

  1. Teresa Vogt

     /  May 19, 2015

    Some of the issue is why go work at a job where there is no one that has your back, and stands by you when there is an issue. Cities want to distance themselves for liability issues. As an EMT I thought about the Paramedic route but took the nursing route instead. Have you ever seen an Ambulance after a wreck?? Those impressive boxes are mostly PLYWOOD ! You tell me you want to be in the back of one of those with a driver in the front while the guy you are taking to a psych hospital is telling you he didn’t mean to do it and he hopes they live and you are so nice and pretty… I been there done that and have more t-shirts and scrub suits then real clothing to prove it ! Prisons don’t have Guards Museums have Guards Prisons have Correctional Officers. I spent YEARS in Men’s and Women’s facilities. I know there are issues, but Cops, Fire and EMS risk their lives every shift and get flack from just about everyone I stopped riding a ambulance when they started talking Bullet proof vests, I worked in Prisons and felt safer. You try telling a Mother near her kid that just blew his brains out that you can’t do anything to help him and watch her eyes flash to the gun at his feet and tell me 20 bucks an hour is worth that, or struggle with a 300 pound 6 and a half ft tall dementia patient that just beat his wife half to death and can’t remember why and suddenly demands what are YOU doing to Her !. On the inside they know to walk the line or add the time, on the streets they don’t want to go back in and are more desperate to get away. Jails are over crowded and people get away with crimes because of turn over for over crowding.. I like the response time of ft per sec more then miles per hour. When help is 20 minutes or more away my 2nd Amendment is much closer. I am sick of the crap of ONLY ‘Black Lives Matter’ ..NO ! ALL LIVES MATTER, I didn’t put myself thru all those years of crawling in broken glass to get to someone pinned and cover them while keeping them calm and still while a car was dismantled around me just to have some pretend preacher Uber-Liberal in a 5,000.00 suit with a bad hair style, that hasn’t paid taxes come in and yell that his race is oppressed and somehow it’s my fault.. I raised my kid by number one you don’t break the law and number two you follow instructions of authority we’ll sort out if it’s legal with an attorney later but you follow EVERY command given with a Yes Sir. I’ll back you 100 % as long as you follow that but remember you break one or two the cops won’t be your biggest worry, I brought you into this world and I can take you out of it if you are that messed up ! He’s 32 and never so much as gotten a parking ticket. I won’t start the fight but I darn sure will not back down from it !



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