Target 8: Columbia Police substations cause confusion in high crime area

2 months 2 weeks 3 days ago Wednesday, January 15 2020 Jan 15, 2020 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 9:15:00 PM CST January 15, 2020 in News
By: Ethan Stein, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Faith Mejia's children know to drop to the ground whenever they hear gunshots. In 2019 alone, three homicides happened about a block away from their home.

"My son was riding his bike just playing with his friend across the street and shots rang out," Mejia said. "My son's best friend was gunned down last year [2018] and, unfortunately, didn't make it."

She's used to police searching her backyard for casings and said the police shouldn't have to travel far. The Columbia Police Department's substation across from McKee Street Park sits less than a mile away. 

The substation is located at 4507-A Orchard Lane. It's one side of a duplex across from McKee Street Park. According to a council memo, the substation costs $400 a month, plus electric and gas. It's 1 of 5 substations in Columbia.

The substation's original purpose was to house a Community Outreach Unit, according to a council memo. However, Columbia Police ended the community outreach unit, merging it with its downtown unit to make one community resource unit.

Steve Sapp, the Director of Community Relations for the city of Columbia, said the substation's purpose is to allow officers to complete paperwork, use the bathroom and a place to meet residents while staying in their assigned beat. However, people around the McKee Street substation were unaware of its new purpose. 

Community members, like Faith Mejia, complained to Target 8 about the lack of a police presence at the substation since the elimination. In our Target 8 investigation, we recorded activity for over six hours at the substation across different time intervals over the course of a weekend in October 2018. 

Our camera would sometimes run out of space or battery before a police officer drove across the substation. Overall, Target 8 found the lack of a constant police presence at the substation. 

The substation near McKee Street Park is in 3rd Ward, which is represented by councilman Karl Skala. Target 8 showed him some of our video and he wasn't surprised with the lack of police presence. He said he believes it's a consequence of resource shortages for the police department. 

"There has been no resource increase, in terms of police, which we're going to have to get to," Skala said.

However, the Columbia Police Department said the lack of a constant police presence is not because a lack of resources or staff shortage. Sapp said the expectation of a constant police presence at the substation is a misunderstanding. 

"I suspect a lot of people think about them as a precinct house," he said. "But we should certainly should explore ways to make sure residents understand that. Perhaps, on our website we need to do a better job explaining it."

Sapp said the substations allow police officers to stay on patrol in their assigned beats as well as use the bathroom, work on paperwork and meet people. 

Faith Mejia believes the sense of a constant police presence, however, is needed.

"I don’t really see them there in the significant times that crime tends to happen," she said. "I feel like if there was an officer there or just a car parked, a lot of these things might not happen. I mean, who's going to drive down the street and kill somebody."

More News

Grid
List
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Dr. Christopher Sampson from MU Health Care about the... More >>
1 hour ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - As Missouri gears up for a long fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, University of Missouri System leaders are... More >>
5 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 5:38:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
HOWARD COUNTY – As public safety agencies face major personal protective equipment shortages, a local dentist is making sure first... More >>
6 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:34:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Business is slow just about everywhere in mid-Missouri, but one local shop owner is using this time to... More >>
7 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 4:07:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Eighth grade English teacher Kelsey Roy is ready to be back with her students. Not over Zoom, but... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – Although it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, real estate is considered an essential... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:32:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Schools started offering a new way for students to receive meals during extended school closures... More >>
8 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:21:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
9 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 2:00:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
CNN - The Democratic National Convention has been pushed back to the week of August 17 in the wake of... More >>
10 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:31:00 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
According to a new study from the University of Georgia, hot weather can take a toll on your mental health.... More >>
11 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 12:00:51 PM CDT April 02, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced they will be postponing commencement. The ceremonies were originally scheduled for May 15-17.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 11:10:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
In this COVID-19 town hall, KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Greg Tucker about how small businesses are struggling and... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 10:58:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Two former Mizzou football players are attempting to turn negatives around COVID-19 into an opportunity for the community.... More >>
12 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 10:28:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The last three weeks have marked one of the most devastating periods in history for the American job... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:52:02 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, April 02 2020 Apr 2, 2020 Thursday, April 02, 2020 9:12:00 AM CDT April 02, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Three separate MU Zoom sessions were disrupted by individuals who entered the meetings uninvited and used "discriminatory... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 8:59:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
CUBA, Mo. (AP) — An eastern Missouri man was charged with making a terrorist threat after he allegedly coughed toward... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 8:22:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more people to stay indoors, the beautiful weather is still drawing plenty of... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, April 01 2020 Apr 1, 2020 Wednesday, April 01, 2020 6:24:00 PM CDT April 01, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
11pm 63°
12am 61°
1am 58°
2am 58°