April of 2002 at the direction of City Manager Charles P. Austin, Sr., Homeland Security Director Harold L. Reaves and Deputy Director Randy D. Martin organized and initiated the Community Safety Officer Unit. This unit’s primary responsibility is to improve the safety of the community by serving as its eyes and ears. This charge is realized in many different ways through the work of the Community Safety Officers.
The Community Safety Officer Unit provides security at several locations crucial to the City of Columbia in it’s delivery of services to the community. These locations include the City of Columbia’s two water treatment plants, its wastewater treatment plant, and City administration buildings such as City Hall, Washington Square, and 1225 Lady Street. The Community Safety Officers are also the primary security for the City of Columbia Public Works facility where much of the City of Columbia’s equipment for providing service to its citizens is housed and maintained.
In addition to these fixed locations, the Community Safety Officers also conduct high visibility community patrols (primarily on foot) in many of Columbia’s neighborhoods, business districts and in its premier park, Finley Park. The officers conducting these patrols place an emphasis on communicating with the citizens in these areas. This communication reduces our citizens’ safety concerns and improves their quality of life by serving as a link between the citizen and the proper service provider department of the City of Columbia.
The strongest interdepartmental relationship is with the Columbia Police Department as both departments continually strive to make the City of Columbia a safer place to live, work, and play. Community Safety Officers regularly communicate with the City of Columbia Police Officers to ensure they are aware of the needs relayed to them or observed by them during their community patrols. The Community Safety Officers also assist the officers of the Columbia Police Department with traffic direction during special events, parades, dignitary visits, power outages, and at school crossings.
The Community Safety Officer Unit also takes a proactive role in the lives of our young citizens through a cooperative effort with the KOBAN, a non-