Why the Fraternal Order of Police spoke out against Columbus police

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 11:33 AM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - New details and reaction are in about a low confidence vote for Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.

News Leader 9 asked tough questions to the president of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police on why he went to city council Monday night with his concerns.

“We’re not looking to attack anybody. We want a positive outcome for the services of the city,” said Lieutenant Ralph Dowe, president of the Columbus Fraternal Order of the Police.

Dowe spoke with News Leader 9 after he presented a low confidence vote to city council regarding his boss, Police Chief Freddie Blackmon’s performance. Some may wonder why he chose to bring these issues before council. Lieutenant Dowe says he and the Fraternal Order of Police have tried having conversations privately for several months.

“We afforded Mayor Henderson an opportunity last week. We presented our packet of information and asked him to review it,” said Lieutenant Dowe. “We didn’t hear anything back from him.”

The packet included a survey indicating only 5% of the officers surveyed have faith in Chief Blackmon’s ability to lead Columbus Police Department. 99% do not believe enough officers are patrolling the streets at any given time to provide adequate backup to ensure officer safety. It’s unclear the demographics of those who answered the questions.

After this survey was presented, Mayor Skip Henderson said he was disappointed.

“I assumed that I’d have the opportunity to take a look at that information, as we’ve done in the past and get together in the next week,” said Mayor Henderson.

Without a chance to review that packet of information, Mayor Henderson made it clear that he was skeptical about Lieutenant Dowe’s purpose in bringing the concerns to council.

“To me, it doesn’t seem like you’re looking for answers,” said Mayor Henderson. “It seemed like you had already formed the answers.”

Mayor Henderson said council would like to collaborate with law enforcement to provide resources to fix these issues. Lieutenant Dowe also welcomes the partnership as long as Chief Blackmon is all ears.

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