COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted a free and open to the public event updating community members about safety in the area.
It was a joining of forces in an open Q and A for anyone willing to listen and address concerns.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook touched on many issues including gun violence, homelessness, car break-ins, and human trafficking. The two reiterated to the public at this free event that the two departments work hand-in-hand.
“The synergies that they create when they work together makes everyone more successful,” Chris Smith said.
Smith says he is an engineer but really wanted to keep up to date with what is happening in and around Columbia.
Staffing was also mentioned at this meeting. According to Chief Skip Holbrook, 385 officers are on the streets with roughly 57 openings. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department employs 700 deputies and is full with a waiting list, according to Sheriff Lott.
He says Live PD does impact that. He told community members he has people on staff who come from all over the country to work in Richland County.
"People applying from all over the country come just to work here because we are on Live PD, it’s putting our police forces in the spotlight in a positive way,” Smith said.
Overall, the two were there to answer questions and interact with those they protect every day.
"There are things being done to make sure we have a safe community. We do have high incident rates, but we have two strong police forces working to bring those incident rates down,” chamber member Henri Baskins said.
The next chamber meeting like this will be held on March 3rd. The focus will be on economic growth in Columbia.