Violent crime prompts a food fight between Mayor, city manager, county Sheriff, and police association

COLUMBIA, Mo 7/31/13 (Beat Byte) -- Columbia city manager Mike Matthes is "flat out wrong" when he disputes Boone County Sheriff Dwayne Carey's recent comment that Boone County has the state's highest rate of gun violence

So said Columbia Police Officers' Association (CPOA) executive director Dale Roberts Monday morning, in a stunning challenge to Matthes' authority on KFRU radio.    Roberts joined a public food fight that had Mayor Bob McDavid on Friday labeling Carey "unprofessional and irresponsible."

CPOA is a quasi-union that represents roughly 160 City of Columbia police officers, all of whom answer to the city manager through the police chief.   Roberts -- an attorney -- became an impromptu newsmaker when he called a radio talk show during a discussion about CoMo crime. 

"The Sheriff was talking about gun violence, and I think the facts show he was right," Roberts said.  "Mr. Matthes was wrong in several things he said."

Carey set the airwaves humming earlier this month when he said Boone County has the highest per capita gun violence in the state of Missouri.   Most of the violence, he added, occurs in Columbia and Federal statistics back up the claim. 

“I don’t know if it’s politically correct, if you don’t want people to think that it’s not dangerous here, but it’s damn dangerous,” Carey told KSSZ's “Wake Up Columbia.”  

Matthes disagreed at a city budget presentation last week.    "Crime is down in the city," he told reporters.  "The sheriff and the others are wrong."

Carey also criticized Columbia's police leaders for failing to take proactive anti-crime measures.   Specifically, he supports more search warrant and informant use.    
But Matthes again disagreed, calling search warrants "too heavy-handed" and informants both expensive and unreliable.   The city manager also bragged "all of the bad guys in these shootings have been found and arrested, or referred to the prosecutor." 

After radio host Simon Rose pressed him to choose which argument he favored, Roberts came down firmly on Carey's side. 

He disputed each of Matthes' points, citing two July shootings that remain unsolved, and law enforcement statistics that prove the efficacy of informants and search warrants. 

"The facts are with the Sheriff," Roberts said.