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Why some people are concerned about CPD’s leadership

Published: Feb. 23, 2022 at 12:37 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 11:18 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - A vote of “low confidence” in Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon was announced Tuesday night. The vote came from other local police officers during the Columbus City Council meeting.

The meeting was packed and many were there in support of local Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) president, Lieutenant Ralph Dowe, who presented survey results showing low confidence in Blackmon’s leadership.

“What we’re hoping to gain is an awareness in the community that the members of the police department are truly concerned about the rise in crime in this city, the safety of our services, the safety of our officers,” said Dowe.

The survey, given to anonymous Columbus Police Department (CPD) officers, indicated only 5% believed Blackmon could lead CPD in a way that provided fair treatment for officers, officer safety and reduced crime in the city.

Other concerns Dowe addressed included police shortages, causing officers to work overtime amid the rising in violent crime throughout the city.

“We feel that our number of resignations are indicative of internal problems within the department,” said Dowe.

City manager, Isaiah Hugley and Mayor Skip Henderson made it clear they were disappointed with the presentation of these concerns.

“Never have I seen a police chief disrespected in the way that Chief Freddie Blackmon has been disrespected here tonight,” said Hugley.

Hugley went on to say as long as he’s in office, he will stand by Chief Blackmon.

“Chief Blackmon, I want the record to reflect, that’s why I’m speaking, that I stand with you and I support you,” said Hugley.

Council also presented data on city-wide vacancies, indicating over 200 open public safety positions.

Blackmon was at tonight’s council meeting however, he did not speak and quickly left during the executive session.

We called him and he had no comment.

The local NAACP also tells us when Dowe was not promoted last year, he allegedly joined the FOP to specifically run for president of that organization and oust Blackmon.

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