Reorganization of Columbia police department runs into push back

October 2, 2013 

TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com Buy Photo

— City Hall is considering reorganizing the police department, but the tentative plan is a throwback.

The current structure, centered on an assistant chief and two deputy chiefs, would be replaced by a single deputy and three police majors.

Mayor Steve Benjamin and Councilman Cameron Runyan said they are worried the organizational structure proposed by city manager Teresa Wilson and assistant city manager Allison Baker does not allow the chief enough latitude to make independent decisions.

Baker laid out the plan Tuesday during a council work session after council voted to have the discussion in public instead of behind closed doors as scheduled.

“It’s where we were several years ago,” Baker said in describing the plan that did not result in a vote by council.

Benjamin also pressed Baker and Wilson on whether the job qualifications for the major were equal to those of the deputy chief.

In another matter related to the police department, city attorney Ken Gaines told council the misconduct probe into temporary chief Ruben Santiago and fired Capt. Dave Navarro is incomplete. Gaines said he did not know when the months-long SLED investigation might be finished.

Clif LeBlanc

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