Columbia Police officers responded to five separate incidents of shots fired over the weekend.
At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to shots fired at the intersection of Garth Ave and Oak St. A gunshot victim with non-life threatening injuries was driven to the hospital in a personal vehicle.
Two bills to further protect on duty officers are currently awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon's signature. The Columbia Police Officers' Association has supported legislation that would make it a felony to disarm a law enforcement agent of any weapon, not simply their handgun.
Columbia Police Department Deputy Chief Dianne Bernhard announced her retirement on Thursday. Bernhard accepted an offer to be the Executive Director of Concerns of Police Survivors, a national organization that provides resources for families and co-workers of police officers killed in duty.
The Columbia Police Department released its Uniform Crime Reporting data for 2013. The report shows a violent crime index of 3.76, which means there are 3.76 violent crimes committed per 1,000 people in Columbia. The index hasn’t been this low since 1985. Columbia PD has had to adjust to a shortage of available staff. Public Information officer, Latisha Stroer, says an increase in retirements has played a role.
“We’re at the lowest number of officers that we have been since 1993. We’ve had the highest number of retirements last year, we have a large number of officers retiring again this year. Every department nationwide has had problems with recruiting officers, new officers, and people wanting to come into this profession,” Stroer said.
A 29-year old has died following a motorcycle crash in Columbia this weekend. The Columbia Police Department said Brandon E. Bainter lost control of his motorcycle early Sunday morning. He was traveling on Broadway toward Westwood Avenue when he went off the left side of the road. The motorcycle then hit a utility pole.
He was not wearing a helmet and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said excessive speed is believed to be a factor.
Columbia Public Works is using a new form of technology to enforce parking regulations. The department has started using smart phones to document parking tickets, correspond with other agencies involved in issuing the tickets, and to take photos of the parking violations.
This technology will replace the currently used devices which use outdated technology and have caused complications in communication. Columbia Parking Supervisor Tanner Morrell says the phones are simplifying the communication between the agencies involved in issuing tickets.
The Columbia Police Department is continuing to investigate a shooting in downtown Columbia Saturday night. Shortly after midnight on Saturday morning, three young men were shot near the intersection of 10th Street and Broadway. While the incident has some concerned about the safety of Columbia’s downtown area, a video of the shooting captured by a bystander has sparked a reaction from many residents.
A new report showing that African-American drivers are more likely to be stopped by police in Missouri is consistent with finding across the United States, according to a researcher that worked on the state report released by Attorney General Chris Koster. The report measures the racial disparity index, a system to measure and compare the frequency that drivers of various ethnicities are stopped and the racial proportion of the population.
The 2012 annual police report reveals a decrease in the number of incidents in Columbia requiring police intervention. The 438 incidents in 2012 in which police had to use force are significantly fewer than the 604 reported in 2011. The report also showed that officers drew firearms on 285 occasions this past year, a 37 percent decrease from 2011. Sergeant Barbara Buck of the Internal Affairs Division said the police department is being proactive in its efforts to reduce crime in Columbia.
The Columbia Police Department received multiple grants to help better patrol roads for drunk drivers and youths not wearing seat belts. The grants, provided by the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Traffic & Highway Safety Division, will go towards enforcing youth seat belt use and sobriety checkpoints.
Columbia Police Traffic Unit Supervisor Sergeant Curtis Perkins said the goal of the grant provided for the youth seat belt enforcement is to have a visible presence.
Police are working with private towing companies to remove stalled and abandoned vehicles to make way for snow plows. The Columbia Police Department said they've received more than 180 calls in Boone County since Thursday morning. Calling the police station is not recommended as a way to locate your towed vehicle.
If Columbia seems less dangerous these days, there may be a reason. Data from The Columbia Police Department show that crime rates have decreased since 2011 with the exception to reported rape and sexual assaults.
Columbia police have looked at past crimes and trends in the city, and have adapted to prevent future crimes. Columbia Police Department Spokesperson Latisha Stroer recalls recent changes.
“We had some violence that occurred in and around Douglas Park,” Stroer said. “We had two-man units placed there to help this relationship with the community and that area.”
78-year-old Robert Hill of Warsaw was the man killed by another patient at Truman Veterans Hospital on Friday, Columbia police spokesperson Sgt. Joe Bernhard said in a release.
Bernhard said Hill was involved in an assault at about 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1. He died from the injuries he sustained in the assault. The release said no weapons were involved in the assault, but didn't go into further detail.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid plans to run for a second term and is putting extra importance on issues that he says still need resolving. McDavid thinks transportation is the key to improving Columbia’s economy in the coming years.
Chief Ken Burton announced the new Deputy Chief of the Columbia Police Department this morning. Captain Dianne Bernhard, a 20 year police veteran will now be responsible for overseeing the work of the police department's three main bureaus: Patrol, Operations Support and Administrative.
The Columbia City Council has approved an amendment that changes the status of Columbia's Police Captains from classified to unclassified employees. Under the new classification the police captains lose their right to due process and are now "at will" employees under Police Chief Kenneth Burton.
A gas leak Tuesday evening in Columbia caused emergency officials to evacuate several businesses and close down a section of Ninth Street South.
At 4:59 p.m. the Columbia Fire Department responded to reports of a gas odor outside the construction site at 308 Ninth Street South, according to James L. Weaver, public information officer with the Columbia Fire Department.
Several nearby businesses were closed including Starbucks, Chipotle and Cold Stone Creamery, Weaver said.
The Columbia Police Department says an internal investigation confirmed that people were served drinks off the bare breasts of women at a Columbia Police Officers Association/FOP Lodge 26 golf tournament.