Columbus residents talk public safety future to council

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 7:22 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon and his department have undergone two separate assessments in the past year alone: one funded by the public and the most recent one funded privately by Columbus business owners.

Happening Tuesday night, several people are going before city council to express their feelings about Chief Blackmon’s performance and what the future of public safety should look like.

Chief Freddie Blackmon took on the role of top cop in November of 2020. Since, there have been numerous discussions at previous city council meetings regarding his performance and a lawsuit filed by the Fraternal Order of Police.

You may remember earlier this month, a privately funded assessment conducted by a company called Jenson Hughes was presented at council. It highlighted both the Columbus Police Department’s strengths and weaknesses. T

The consensus was that the police department is accredited and overall operates well, but it also pointed out that there are leadership issues, a lack of transparency and problems retaining officers.

Columbus Native Reverend Adrian Chester is one of those citizens going before council tonight. He told News Leader 9′s Ashlee Williams that the police department needs more funding and resources to be successful. He also emphasized that cops’ jobs are not to prevent crimes but rather to enforce the law and respond accordingly.

”The Chief has operated in good faith, and now his good faith is being evil spoken of with those cultural things that we know were already there.,” Rev. Chester explained. “He is working with his command staff and his subordinates, which some are trying to micro-manage him, tell him how to run the department, but that’s not how it works. He is the Chief Executive Officer of the Columbus Police Department.“

Tuesday night’s council agenda shows more than a dozen citizens going before the mayor and council to talk public safety. We do know an executive meeting took place at 4 p.m., ahead of the public meeting which starts at 5:30.

The media is not allowed into that private meeting.

We have talked with Mayor Skip Henderson, and he told us that there are no plans to terminate Chief Blackmon.

But, that doesn’t mean it cant happen.

It would take a super majority of 7 votes by council members for Blackmon to be terminated without the support of the mayor.

Stay with News Leader 9 for updates to this developing story.