Columbia Police Department: Telepone Reponse Unit - Columbia South Carolina Police Department

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Sergeant R.D. Gunter

Officers who work in the Columbia Police Department’s Telephone Response Unit often deal with residents who are contacting police for the first time.

A great deal goes on in the diminutive office located in the department’s lobby. When someone calls or visits the department, TRU officers become that person’s first impression of the Columbia Police Department. Citizens are often upset when contacting police. TRU officers patiently listen and provide a calming effect while offering the proper guidance.

The officers spend a lot of time educating citizens about police procedures, as well as handling requests and complaints regarding non-emergency incidents. These include thefts, burglaries, and forgeries, missing persons, lost/found property, towed vehicles, assaults and criminal mischief.

Those who need shelter look to TRU officers for help. Police will contact local shelters, including Sistercare and the Oliver Gospel Mission, to assist citizens who need a place to stay. When domestic violence victims, accompanied by their children, seek shelter at Sistercare, the officers give teddy bears to the youngsters. Those who need help from the American Red Cross also can look to TRU officers for assistance.

Simultaneously, these officers are responding by radio to officers in the field and other law enforcement agencies that need help. They provide many other services as well – assisting in handling mental health transports, taking reports of stolen cars and runaways and giving directions to the misguided. They also log and maintain more than 10,000 warrants and keep tabs on NCIC. Of course, all six phone lines are constantly ringing in the office. That’s because if anyone wants to know anything, the front desk is the place to call.

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