On Wednesday, May 12 at 2 p.m., the City of Columbia and Columbia Police Department (CPD) will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new Molly Thomas Bowden Neighborhood Policing Center, 1204 International Dr. The outdoor event will be open to the public in addition to livestream options provided by local media.
The Center, approved by voters in 2015 as a capital improvement project and named in honor of fallen CPD Officer Molly Thomas Bowden, comprises 24,539 square feet and will provide a north precinct for patrol officers assigned to that area. This proximity will assist officers with reduced response times and allow them to stay connected to the residents in their beats.
"As a part of CPD’s Columbia policing model, the new Molly Thomas Bowden Neighborhood Policing Center will provide a safe place where people can gather to find resources within their community. Its location will allow officers to form stronger relationships that are critical for effective policing and acknowledge challenges specific to our community," said Columbia Mayor Brian Treece. "As the first police building named after a policewoman, it is also a tangible reminder to make sure our police department reflects the diversity of our community."
The total cost for building construction, completed by Professional Contractors and Engineers of Columbia, is $7.614 million. The Center includes office space, a lobby, reception area, community meeting room with limited kitchen equipment, department meeting room, specialized storage, locker rooms and fitness center. The Center will house the Special Weapons and Tactics Unit and Community Outreach Unit and will also serve as the primary location for storing and processing vehicles in evidence. In the future, the Department plans to house a branch of CPD’s investigative operations on the second floor.
"By placing the officers who serve this neighborhood at the north precinct, this Center will provide opportunities to help strengthen relationships with citizens living and working in the community," said Police Chief Geoff Jones. "In some ways, this Center is a testament to the way Molly served our community. It is truly an honor to have been able to serve with her, and to now continue to model this manner of service in a Center that helps us better serve our community."
Through the City of Columbia’s Office of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program, Missouri artist Beth Nybeck was selected to create a sculpture installed outside the new Center. The sculpture is titled "Indivisible" and is representative of the role the police force plays within our community. The Percent for Art program allocates 1% of new City construction or renovation project costs to be used for site-specific public art.
Note: Limited parking will be available at the Center with additional parking on International Drive.