UPDATE: Police Chief Burton says he is committed to the job

Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 1:02 p.m. CDT; updated 10:46 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 26, 2012

An updated version of this story has been posted.


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COLUMBIA — Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton pledged to stand his ground Thursday in the face of rising opposition.

Burton released a statement Thursday morning affirming his commitment to his job.  In the statement, he expressed his continued dedication to Columbia and to his command. 

Burton said:

"Based on the Anderson report, the Columbia City Manager has created a 'roadmap' for the future of the Columbia Police Department. He has asked me to stay and work with him as we continue to move toward our goal of becoming the premier law enforcement agency in Missouri.

"There is much work to be done and the journey will not be easy, but nothing that is worthwhile ever is.  My commitment to providing superior law enforcement services to our citizens and the success of the CPD is unwavering, and I intend to see it through.

"I greatly appreciate all of the support, feedback and even the criticisms members of the community have shared thus far, and I hope they will continue to communicate with me about what they need and want from their police department.”

Burton said that he would not make further comments about the matter.

On Wednesday, the Columbia Fraternal Order of Police addressed a letter to Mayor Bob McDavid and City Manager Mike Matthes that called for Burton's immediate removal, citing “numerous policy and city ordinance violations.” 

The Missouri State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police added its backing to the Columbia Fraternal Order’s complaint.

In a statement released Wednesday, the state lodge specifically condemned Burton’s actions in terminating former Officer Rob Sanders after Sanders was exonerated by an internal investigation into his shoving of an inmate in custody.

“To a man we found Chief Burton’s actions to be reprehensible and for this reason we took the unusual step of formally condemning Chief Burton’s actions,” the statement said.

There are 10 members of the order’s executive board who voted unanimously for the condemnation. This is the first time a condemnation vote has ever been held by the organization, the statement said. 

Ashley Cuttle, executive director of the Columbia Fraternal Order of Police, said about 140 of Columbia's 160 police officers are members.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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Ray Shapiro April 26, 2012 | 1:56 p.m.

All these years and CPD is still not accredited by CALEA.
I hope our city council ensures that Chief Burton is given all the resources and support he needs to accomplish this goal.
Then perhaps we can rest assured that we have an organization of professionals and not a union of ornery officers in our midst.

(Report Comment)
mike mentor April 26, 2012 | 2:17 p.m.

Maybe the Union wants to step up and put their ill gotten gains where their mouth is. Let them be involved in these decisions and let them pay for any and all defense costs and awards paid out to the victims of wrongdoing by the officers...

(Report Comment)
Jeremy Calton April 26, 2012 | 5:06 p.m.

It's heartwarming to see the FOP say "To a man we found Chief Burton’s actions to be reprehensible" while defending the reprehensible actions of ex-officer Sanders.

(Report Comment)
KEN GERINGER April 26, 2012 | 5:43 p.m.

Having previously never having an opinion on the CFOP, now I do. They seem to take the position that abusing a person in custody is no reason to fire a member of their organization. Now my opinion is that anything they are against, is probably something I should support. Also, should I believe that all members of CPD I encounter are in agreement with the CFOP?
I have had jobs and bosses I did not like. I just left when I could. So should apparently all the members of the CFOP. Goodbye.

(Report Comment)
Louis Schneebaum April 26, 2012 | 6:59 p.m.

Sounds like Burton is in the right -- correct me if I'm wrong...

(Report Comment)

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