The Columbia Police Department is planning to cut back its traffic enforcement unit so that it can expand a unit for community outreach.

Deputy Chief Jill Schlude says the department will shuffle officers to give the community outreach unit six officers, in three teams of two, assigned to specific areas in the city and a sergeant overseeing its operations. Positions to fill the outreach unit will come from the traffic unit.

The change is part of an effort to move the police department toward a community policing model, in which officers patrol specific areas to improve relationships between police and residents.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that members of the Mayor's Task Force on Pedestrian Safety said Monday that they fear loss of traffic enforcement could make the city's roads more dangerous.

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