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Details on plan to address problems at Columbia Police Department expected mid-May

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | 6:16 p.m. CDT; updated 6:54 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton and City Manager Mike Matthes present findings of an independent review of the Columbia Police Department in this file photo from March 6.

COLUMBIA — Concrete goals for improvement in the Columbia Police Department should be released by mid-May, Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl said Tuesday.

City Manager Mike Matthes released a "road map" for improving conditions at the Police Department on Friday in a letter to the mayor and council members. Kespohl described this stage of the improvement process as the planning phase.

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Matthes had promised to draft the "road map" after an independent review by consultant Eric Anderson found a number of problems within the department, especially concerning the relationship of senior command staff to officers. Anderson said working conditions in the Police Department were approaching toxicity.

The city manager's plan addresses the implementation of each of 14 recommendations Anderson made in his seven-page report, which cost the city $45,000.

Matthes addressed deficiencies in officer training, a review of the police chief and his senior command staff — to be personally conducted by Matthes — and a commitment to pursue department accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.

It includes a proposal to increase the department's public satisfaction poll numbers from 69 percent to 75 percent satisfaction through the next three years.

Matthes also said he would research other exemplary departments around the country to see how they conduct internal affairs reviews. This is to be completed by Oct. 1.

Matthes was not available for comment.


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