Columbia’s ‘Justice for All’ initiative

Passing on this release, about the city of Columbia’s response to Ferguson and Staten Island:

Mayor Benjamin announces new “Justice for All” initiative

Columbia, SC. – Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was joined by Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook, Members of Council and leaders from across the community to announce his major new “Justice for All” public safety initiative.

“We are committed to building a world class Police Department and in order to do this we must commit to strengthening the foundation of trust and accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement agencies,” said Mayor Benjamin. “This is about more than public safety. This is about justice.”

Comprehensive in its approach, the Justice for All initiative focuses on Training, Diversity, Accountability and community Engagementthrough a series of new and expanded policies which include:

  • Providing new and ongoing cultural sensitivity, conflict resolution and de-escalation training.
  • Appointing minority community representation on CPD’s police hiring board.
  • Establishing a citywide Human Rights Commission.
  • Appointing civilian representation to CPD’s Internal Affairs Review Board.
  • Publicly publishing an Annual Internal Affairs Report.
  • Recording all violent crime suspect interviews.
  • Organizing ongoing listening sessions in communities across Columbia.
  • Providing body cameras to all uniformed personnel.

(Justice for All initiative outline attached)

For more information, contact Michael Wukela at 803-413-5052.


Here’s the news story in The State today.



6 thoughts on “Columbia’s ‘Justice for All’ initiative

  1. Barry

    “Appointing minority community representation on CPD’s police hiring board”

    Should be interesting. Columbia is a majority minority city. 49.6% is white. 41.7% is black. 4.3 are Hispanic. (Some articles say it’s 51% white)

    From an April 2014 article – Currently, the police department’s commissioned officers are
    67 percent Caucasian; 29 percent African-American; 3 percent Hispanic; and one Asian officer

    2 of 6 city council members are white.

    South Carolina is 68% white, 28% black. We have 6 white congressman, and 1 black congressman. Obviously we have 1 white Senator, and 1 black senator.

    1. Kathryn Fenner

      and in Columbia, the incarceration rate for blacks is?
      and whites?
      How about the arrest rates? The contact rates?

      1. Barry

        Have no idea. Didn’t look it up.

        I assume that info is out there- but don’t know.

        I would assume the incarceration rate of black people is higher since more of them percentage wise are in poverty, more of them have less than a college degree – and those factors seem to drive crime rates.

        Columbia can’t blame it on the race of police leadership like many point to in some communities. They’ve had a host of chiefs that were black- and their management structure seems to have quite a number of minorities throughout various commands.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          True, and the department is fairly reflective of community demographics, though more white.
          I suspect a certain amount of bandwagon jumping-on, and general pandering, but…

          1. Barry

            There could be less black officers because apparently you can’t hav a criminal record at all to apply. Of course that could effect anyone but studies show us it hits minority groups harder.

            I understand no felonies, or no domestic abuse or child abuse, but not sure a misdemeanor 15 years ago should disqualify an otherwise great candidate (example- a college grad with a good work history)

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              Agreed! In fact, some experience with the less savory groups one would be called upon to police would seem to be helpful!

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