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Heart of Missouri United Way withdraws community policing event proposal

The Heart of Missouri United Way has withdrawn its proposal to facilitate a community policing event in the city of Columbia. (File)

The Heart of Missouri United Way has withdrawn its proposal to facilitate a community policing event in the city of Columbia.

"We withdrew our proposal out of respect for what was expressed by the community in order to ensure the process has the greatest opportunity for success and stakeholder buy-in," said Heart of Missouri United Way Executive Director Andrew Grabau in an email. "I am hopeful for United Way to remain involved and a part of the conversation; however, we will not be listed on any proposed contract with the City regarding Community Policing."

The proposal was the subject of heated discussion at Columbia City Council's July 17 meeting. The initial intent of the meeting was to vote on the proposal, but the council ended up tabling the discussion until August 21.

The item the council tabled would have authorized a professional services agreement with the Heart of Missouri United Way for the facilitation of a community policing forum, costing more than $60,000.

Council member Ian Thomas said Columbia City Manager Mike Matthes has been working to talk to various stakeholders in the community on their ideas for a community policing forum.

Grabau also said removing the organization as a facilitator also allowed for council member Clyde Ruffin to weigh in on the subject. Ruffin removed himself from voting at the July meeting because he serves on the United Way's board.

Columbia's local chapter of the NAACP will hold an event on August 22 to discuss similar topics.

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