Columbus City Council meeting leads to mixed emotions

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 11:01 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Standing room only in Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Some comments met with cheers and applause.

“You do not create a questionnaire questioning the leadership of your own chief .”

Other comments met with boo’s and outrage. “I am here concerning the poor leadership of Chief Blackmon.”

Resident after resident addressing the council on the is issue of public safety. This after an assessment on the Columbus Police Department revealed 70 recommendations, along the lines of retention of officers, lack of transparency, and the lack of leadership, singling out Chief Freddie Blackmon as the city’s top cop. “I come before you today to stop the hanging figuratively of Freddie Blackmon,” says resident Paul Olsen.

“The people here tonight are tired of hearing gun shots, tired of their cars being broken into, tired of bodies being dumped in their neighborhoods, we have got to get something done,” says resident Buford King. Concerned citizens expressing their feelings towards growing crime rates, leadership issues within the department, and getting the city on track to be safe. “I am begging you to take the leadership, bring us back together,” says resident Sally Lassiter.

Chief Blackmon was given a 30 day mandate from city council to present a strategic plan in response to the 70 recommendations from the Jensen Hughes assessment. “Now you gave him 30 days, but I’m going to give you two weeks to give him the money for everything he needs,” says another resident. At the end of the meeting after over a dozen people spoke to city council, some for and others against the Chief, they all agree, something must be done to get a handle on violent crime in Columbus.