Columbia Police Department captains labeled "unclassified" employees

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 11:59 p.m. CDT; updated 1:44 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 18, 2012

COLUMBIA — Columbia Police Department captains are now labeled as "unclassified" after the City Council voted 5-2 to approve an amendment to the city's Position Classification Plan.

This new classification means that captains in the Police Department can be fired with only minimal due process.

City Manager Mike Matthes stated that this decision came as a response to the independent review of the Columbia Police Department earlier this year and the recommendation to review the managerial style of the Police Department. 

"I believe the captains should be protected somewhat," Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony said. "They should be allowed to have due process if they're ... terminated or demoted."  The reclassification may discourage senior police officers from accepting captain positions because the position will not have the same job security, she said.

Kevin Ahlbrand of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police spoke at the meeting at the request of the Columbia Police Officer Association. He said that the amendment will "lead to poor choices, complacency and a lack of innovation," among city police captains.

Matthes said "this current system has helped create this atmosphere of toxicity" and that this new classification is a way to solve the issue.

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