Once again the Columbia Police Department (CPD) made the news, in a not-so-desirable way, over the weekend. Authorities responded to a possible assault call in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Upon arriving at a residence in the northeast area at about 1 a.m., officers were surprised to find that it was one of their very own they would have to handcuff and haul off to the slammer. CPD Officer Tobin Barton, 36, was charged with criminal domestic violence after an argument with his girlfriend allegedly turned physical.
Columbia residents have suffered more than their fair share of public humiliation regarding the CPD recently. There have been allegations of secret recordings, police being ordered to plant drugs and a gun to get a city employee fired, threats and just last week a crime analyst slapped the City of Columbia with a lawsuit claiming her lover and former police chief Randy Scott wrongfully forced her to resign or be terminated on the spot.
Columbia has had six police chiefs in the last seven years. After a long and controversial search process current Huntington, West Virginia Police Chief William Holbrook has been selected to be the new CPD chief. His resignation from the Huntington PD isn’t effective until April 7th.
Hopefully all the turmoil brewing in the CPD won’t cause Holbrook to change his mind about coming to our fair city. CPD needs a leader, and fast, to whip things into shape. Unfortunately it seems as if the agitation at the CPD is now spilling over into the community with officers taking their stress home. Hurry Holbrook, hurry. And it might not be a bad idea if you’d come riding in on a white horse with a long-handled broom to start sweeping things clean down at the CPD station.