The Heart of Missouri United Way has withdrawn its proposal to host an event focused on improving community policing in Columbia.
Columbia City Council Member Ian Thomas says it is possible that the United Way decided to withdraw after concerns were raised about the contract. "I think they would have done a great job, but they don't want to get a contract against the will of the public," Thomas said. "When they heard the concerns, from the public and from City Council, it made sense for them to step back."
Those concerns were not focused at United Way but at a lack of detail, as well as how quickly the contract was put together. There was also no opportunity for other organizations to propose a counteroffer to compete with United Way for the contract. Peggy Placier, of Race Matters, Friends said the contract's makeup was "done in a hurry."
"We need to have a community engagement process about policing before going to the voters to ask for more funding for the police," Thomas said. "We need to create the vision, and the plan, and then figure out what it costs."
The discussion on community-based policing will continue at the City Council meeting scheduled for Aug. 21.