West Columbia’s police chief focused on diversity, resident engagement and mental health

·3 min read

I am honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to further serve the West Columbia Police Department as the Chief.

Working with Mayor Elise Partin, the City Council members, city administration, and our wonderful community, we will continue to provide and enhance a culture of proactive community policing and deliver a quality police service to all our residents and visitors.

My goals, vision, and mission all engage the community.

Based on the six pillars of 21st Century policing, building trust and legitimacy, policy and oversight, technology and social media, community policing and crime reduction, officer training and education, and officer safety and wellness, I think we currently have a sound foundation at West Columbia.

There is room to improve and build upon to make us an agency that further values community support.

When it comes to building trust and legitimacy, having a police department that reflects the community that they police is important.

The West Columbia Police Department’s officers are a good representation of our community.

It is easy to say that we are a diverse department, but it is important to me and my staff that we do not stop there. I want to make sure that along with diversity comes inclusion and belonging.

When these three ideals work together, one of the byproducts is becoming a socially just agency. When we are socially just, it gives us more opportunities to relate to our community.

Training is critical to the concept of 21st century policing and very important to me as it has been my role since 2016 at the department. We are seeing more and more calls for service involving people experiencing mental health crises.

All officers have been trained in de-escalation techniques and mental health awareness.

To support further support the mental health of our community, we have partnered with the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work, putting graduate-level social work students into the West Columbia Police Department to help bridge the gap between community resources and the people struggling with mental health and/or substance use issues.

Our officers work to refer cases to them and, in doing so, we are seeing a decrease in visits to the emergency department and the jail. If you are a West Columbia resident and are experiencing these issues, please call us at 803-939-8624.

I have been and will continue to attend neighborhood and business meetings in West Columbia, specifically for our citizens and business owners to have an opportunity to voice their concerns.

We are working collaboratively with our communities to help mitigate previous concerns and look forward to working with our businesses and residents in the future.

Our Community Action Team welcomes invitations to any neighborhood meetings in the City of West Columbia. They are available to present on safety issues and crime prevention as well.

Another goal, as the Chief, is to implement a crime statistics program, where staff analyzes our crime data monthly, quarterly, and yearly, allowing for a more intelligent lead policing concept, focusing our limited resources where they are needed most.

The statistics will be posted on our police department website and through our social media platforms. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, if you do not already.

The men and women of the West Columbia Police Department provide services to the community so that it remains clean and safe.

We continue to build an environment for residents and visitors to come and enjoy our parks, residential areas, green spaces, restaurants, retail, and businesses day or night.

Chief Marion Boyce was named the new chief of the West Columbia Police Department on Sept. 7. He joined the department as a patrol officer in 2006.

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