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Columbia police use informational videos to strengthen community relationship

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 9:27 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Columbia Police Department is trying to bridge the gap between civilians and officials with its new public outreach campaign involving a series of informational videos.

A collaboration between the Police Department and the City Channel, the videos are featured on the city website and describe department practices and procedures that explain the reasoning behind police actions to ease interactions with the public. The video topics include the mounted patrol team, the forensic evidence team and traffic stops.

According to Columbia police spokeswoman Jill Wieneke, the City Channel made two of the videos over the summer, but the video on traffic stops was a collaboration between the Police Department and the City Channel, marking the start of the new campaign when it was posted on Sept. 15.

“I looked at some good videos that the Chicago Police Department did,” Wieneke said. “I was really interested in something we could do here because it’s simple for us to do and easy for people to access.”

The videos are funded by the city. Production coordinator Rosemary Frank said the cost depends on the length of the video.

“I hate to give a figure on that,” Frank said. “But we’re pretty efficient.”

The City Channel has worked on eight videos so far this year, but it usually produces about a dozen annually, according to Frank.

The next video will address the issue of noise violations and college parties.

“We’re going to do a ‘what is a nuisance party’ as an educational video on what it is and for people in the community who live next door to these students,” Wieneke said. “It’ll walk them through the process of how to handle it. We try to remedy the situation so that law enforcement doesn’t even have to get involved.”

Wieneke said she would like to do a “college student’s survival guide” to educate those who are not familiar with Columbia law. The video will also cover common reports like larceny and burglary, explain how to prevent these situations and offer safety tips.

Members of the community are encouraged by police to contribute ideas of subjects they would like to see addressed in the future.

“I like to identify topics, and the biggest thing I’m looking for is feedback,” Wieneke said. “Us producing this with the community — I think that’s really powerful.”

Those with suggestions for future videos should call Jill Wieneke at (573) 817-5047 or e-mail her at jawienek@gocolumbiamo.com.


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