COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - More resources likely are on the way for Columbia police.
City council members are scheduled to take up million-dollar requests from the department. In the wake of the deadly violence in Las Vegas, one thing became clear: law enforcement's need to respond immediately to protect as many victims as possible and locate and terminate the threat.
Police departments need funding, equipment, and other resources before a crisis.
The department's needs are up for consideration at City Hall. It's still just an image on a sign near the Clyburn Pedestrian bridge over I-277. But the Busby Street Community Resource and Training Complex is starting to move closer to reality.
City council members will vote on nearly $3 million in funding to start construction work for the police substation and community center. It's something Chief Skip Holbrook says Columbia has needed for years.
"That's a long overdue project and it's in a much-needed area," Holbrook said. "I think the police presence in another area for the community and police to be more engaged."
Holbrook and his department have other major upgrades in mind. He's asking the council to buy 26 Ford Explorer SUV's to replace the now-discontinued Crown Vic police cruisers.
CPD is also looking for $2.1 million worth of new radios. All steps in the works long before last weekend's massacre in Las Vegas. Necessary though he says, to keep the department connected to neighborhoods and other law enforcement agencies and ready for any emergency.
Any person that's in charge of a law enforcement agency would be less than honest if they said that situations like that did not cause you concern. You know it's very hard to prevent something like that.
Three million will fund the Busby project's first phase. The project's total cost had been estimated at nearly $15 million.
Holbrook hasn't been faced with the nightmare of a man with high-powered automatic assault weapons firing down on a crowd from 32 stories.
But he feels like CPD has been able to respond effectively to other potentially explosive situations including protests at the State House, in part by meeting with protest leaders ahead of time and trying to defuse tension before it gets out of hand.