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Published on June 10th, 2020 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Chief Holbrook Appointed to New National Committee for Police Reform and Racial Justice

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) has announced in Washington, D.C., the appointment of Columbia Police Chief W. H. “Skip” Holbrook to the new National Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.

The Working Group is a consortium of the nation’s Mayors and Police Chiefs tasked to find solutions to end police violence and patterns of racial discrimination among law enforcement agencies.

City of Columbia Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, “The US Conference of Mayors has recognized the outstanding service and leadership achievements of Chief Holbrook by bringing his voice into the national conversation on their Police Reform and Racial Justice working group,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Many of the policing reforms now being called for across the country have already been put into practice by Skip Holbrook in Columbia, which has made our city’s police force a national model of best practices. By adding his experience and 21st Century law enforcement vision as one of three national-level chiefs in this working group, Chief Holbrook will help bring about lasting, systemic, and positive changes to policing in America.”

City Manager Teresa Wilson says, “It is an honor for the City of Columbia and the Columbia Police Department to have a seat at the table for such an important and significant national initiative. During this challenging period, across our country, the time is now to have an open dialogue, identify best practices, and develop new approaches toward police reform and racial justice. Chief Holbrook will not only add to these efforts, as a member of the working group, but he will also have an opportunity to be on the forefront for nationwide reformation and the continuation of community policing efforts right here in Columbia.”

Chief Holbrook was chosen among his peers to include, Baltimore Police Chief Michael Harrison and Phoenix Police Chief Geri Williams.

The group is led by former Police Chief Charles Ramsey, advisor to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, former police chief in Philadelphia and Washington, DC and Co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. According to the USCM, the Working Group will produce, advance and enact meaningful reforms to address police violence and patterns of racial discrimination. The Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group will take on the urgent task of outlining a series of specific recommendations related to America’s policing practices to help end the injustices facing black Americans.

The Working Group is also composed of the mayors of Chicago, Tampa, and Cincinnati, and will be assisted by other experts in the field with the goal of releasing actionable recommendations in the coming weeks.

Since Chief Holbrook’s tenure at CPD, he has implemented the following community policing programs and other initiatives to create a foundation of trust and transparency with City of Columbia citizens.

  • CPD has received National Accreditation – The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
  • Body-Worn Camera Program
  • Recorded audio/video suspect interviews
  • Citizens Advisory Council (CAC)
  • SLED investigations of all officer-involved shootings
  • Public Internal Affairs Report
  • Police Explorers Program
  • Urban League summer job programs
  • Front Porch Roll Calls – Community Program
  • Coffee with a Cop – Community Program
  • Crisis Intervention Training
  • De-escalation Training
  • Duty to intervene policy
  • One Mind Campaign – Mental illness recognition

Chief Holbrook’s Biography:

Chief Holbrook was appointed Chief of the Columbia Police Department on April 11, 2014. He has more than 28 years of law enforcement experience, of which Chief Holbrook has spent the last 12 years in executive and command positions. Under Chief Holbrook’s leadership, the Columbia Police Department is implementing organizational and operational reforms, which have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) for 21st Century policing efforts. In addition, the department has received the S.C. Law Enforcement Officers Association (SCLEOA) SCANA Award of Excellence and has been awarded national accreditation by the Commission for Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Chief Holbrook is the recipient of the 2018 Strom Thurmond Award for Excellence in Law Enforcement.

To learn more about the National Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group and the Columbia Police Department’s community policing initiatives and 21st Century Policing publications, review the following links: https://bit.ly/2MLCHJb  https://columbiapd.net/publications/

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