One more time: Another report comes that our growing small city has need of more police officers on the streets, on the payroll, serving the community. Columbia, Missouri is woefully inadequate in providing reasonable law enforcement. The shortage creates work loads and lack of coverage that squeezes and stresses the force. And pressure from the top of the food chain simply instructs them to do more with less. We lose officers all the time to other departments or agencies because of low morale.
As the reports continue to come and the noise level rises the public pretends to be concerned. Well, ain’t that a crying shame. But the simple and inconvenient truth is that we continue to vote down tax increases that could remedy this situation. We do that even as our local tax rates already hover in the bargain basement rage for cities our size. But we won’t ante up. Instead, we pretend to care and say inane things to officers like “Thank you for your service.” You want to really thank them for their service?
Hire more officers. Increase their salaries, benefits and retirement programs. Provide reasonable equipment and gear at no cost to officers. Make sure they have the most current vehicles and technology. Keep military style firearms and ammo off the streets and out of the hands of the bad guys and mentally ill. Re-institute the motorcycle and mounted patrol horses. Offer routine continuing education and opportunities for our force to achieve best peer city practices.
We can settle for mediocre, overworked, understaffed and unsafe, or we can do the right thing. We can pay for this. What that means is voting yes to the next proposed tax increase. Just do it.
And while we are on the subject Missourians, go ahead and increase Missouri state taxes. We are at the bottom of the barrel. It’s ridiculous. The ultimate answer to every fiscal dilemma of our state is not slashing essential programs and lowering taxes even more. No, to the contrary, as a moral issue increase our taxes.
Wake up Columbia. Wake up Missouri. Okay, wake up USA. Stop pretending to care when you really, really don’t.