I have been watching the local protests for the last several weeks sparked by the murder of George Floyd.
For the first time, there was a public statement by all three of our local police departments: the Columbia Police Department, Boone County Sheriff’s department and MU Police Department condemning the murder. The statement went on to reassure the public that higher standards are expected and enforced in our community. This includes the duty to intervene if a police officer sees another police officer not behaving appropriately.
John Glascock, Columbia’s city manager, and Geoff Jones, Columbia’s police chief, state that there are no policies that would permit this to happen in our community. Taking that a step further, policies for the police department are being reviewed.
In speaking to our city and county police officers, I’m struck by their universal opinion that what happened to Floyd was unconscionable. I was reassured that, if a similar situation occurred in Columbia, the results would be different.
Things need to change, and I feel that our police officers feel the same way. Mistakes have been made in the past, and I’m sure some will be made in the future. However, with the spotlight on Columbia and the police as protectors in this situation, they have been supportive of our community during our peaceful protests.
This week, I have been proud of our police officers. Thank you, Chief Jones, for reassuring me the Columbia, Missouri, that I grew up in is continuing to grow, be progressive and inclusive. You have made me feel that, if I have questions or concerns, your door is open.
Betsy Peters represents the Sixth Ward on the Columbia City Council.