The Columbia Police Department's recent overnight trip to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, cost $6,000 more than the city's previous stated estimate. 

Fourteen Columbia police officers, 12 community members and four city administrators boarded a bus on Sept. 26 to visit the museum. Among the group was Police Chief Geoff Jones and four members of the city's Vehicle Stop Committee, which was created in April to address racial disparities in traffic stops, according to previous Missourian reporting. 

At the time of the trip, Steven Sapp, director of community relations for Columbia, said the estimated cost of the trip was $3,000. However, the cost came to $8,872.20, according to a cost breakdown provided by Sapp this week. The funds came from the police department's training and travel budget, he said. 

The total included 25 rooms at The Peabody Memphis hotel, White Knight Coaches for transportation, admission to the museum, a tour guide fee and lunch and beverages for the bus ride to and from Tennessee. 

City officials also each received a $50 per diem for other meal or miscellaneous costs. 

Sapp said no city employees were paid overtime to cover for officers and other city officials' participation in the trip. 

The Columbia Police department budgeted $255,575 in its travel and training funds for fiscal year 2019, which ended Sept. 30, Sapp said. 

Jones, who Sapp said was unavailable to talk about the trip, said in previous Missourian reporting that he thought the museum gave context to the civil rights movement, and he hoped the trip would provide understanding, build relationships and spark difficult conversations. 

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed

  • Public Life reporter, fall 2019. I am studying investigative journalism. Reach me at srrhgp@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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