Most of city council has thoroughly dissed Cameron Runyan’s attempt to revive the idea of Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott taking over the Columbia Police Department.
But the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce is applauding. It sent out this statement yesterday:
“The Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce fully endorses Columbia City Council member Cameron Runyan’s plan to contract Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott to manage the City of Columbia’s police department. Public safety, economic development and job creation are top priorities of the Chamber and our business community. Our neighbors and our business owners deserve the right to feel safe in their homes, on their streets and in our business districts. Public safety is critical to moving our city from good to great to achieve status as a world-class city.
We firmly believe Sheriff Lott, based on his past performance, has the credibility and proven results to bring about positive changes in the Columbia Police Department, which will benefit our entire community. Sheriff Lott is a well respected leader throughout Columbia, the state and law enforcement. We encourage our city council members to embrace this plan and help make it a reality.”
– Holt Chetwood | Chair, Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce
It’s a bit surprising to me that council so categorically rejects the idea of the popular and competent Lott taking over the department, given that the CPD has in the last few years gone way beyond the point that the word “troubled” adequately described just how fouled up it is at the top. The same proposal lost by only one vote in council in 2010.
But it’s habit now with the council majority, I guess. If it comes from the Benjamin camp, and has business support, and might change the status quo in a way that makes sense, they’re against it.