Report says Columbia Police Department environment is "approaching toxicity"

Mar 6, 2012

Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes has announced plans to implement 14 recommendations made in a report highly critical of the Columbia Police Department. The report outlines problems within CPD, saying the department's reputation in the community has been steadily dropping.

"The community has lowered the report card of the police department from a B to a D over the past six years," said City Manager Mike Matthes.

City Hall filled with media organizations and Columbia Police Department personnel as Matthes addressed an in-depth critique of CPD conducted by an outside consultant. The review evaluated CPD policies and procedures and included interviews with city employees and a city-wide survey. The report outlined problems identified by the consultants, including “extraordinarily low” morale, poor supervisory culture, and inadequate communication." Matthes says he does not intend on making personnel changes, but that he will review senior leadership.   

“I have spoken to all of those folks this morning and asked all of them to help me implement the change that this report recommends,” Matthes said.

Police Chief Burton says he takes the blame for the outlined problems and pledged to recommit to his duties as chief.

"Looking internally I take responsibility for maybe being too participative and maybe not demanding enough," Burton said. "So I’m looking internally and I will make the changes necessary to make this a success.”

Over the next month City Manager Matthes says he plans on developing a more specific strategy for carrying out the report's 14 recommendations and how to fund the proposed changes.