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Columbia police chief Burton resigns

Columbia’s police chief has resigned.

The city announced Friday that Ken Burton is stepping down effective Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. He had been Columbia’s police chief since 2009.

Burton was placed on paid administrative leave on Dec. 20. No reason was given by the city. He will stay on that leave until his resignation date. He will also get two months separation pay.

Deputy Chief Jill Schlude is serving as acting police chief. Interim city manager John Glascock will designate an interim police chief.

Glascock is filling in for Mike Matthes, who resigned in November. The city says the next permanent city manager will appoint the next permanent police chief.

“Our next city manager will be filling several important positions, including police chief,” Councilman Matt Pitzer says. “That chief will have the chance to give the citizens of Columbia the type of effective police department they deserve, as well as address long-standing department morale concerns. I’d like to commend our hard-working officers during this time of transition, thank them for their service and hope we can deliver the strong leadership that would benefit the entire community.”

“I thank Chief Burton for the good work he has done in Columbia, especially the new ‘use of force policy’ he implemented several years ago, and I look forward to helping our new City Manager appoint a new Police Chief with experience in and a strong commitment to community-oriented policing,” said Councilman Ian Thomas.

“For over six years, the Columbia Police Officers Association and our members have been well aware of the problems with our Chief of Police. The recent revelations about his habits came as no surprise to us,” CPOA Director Dale Roberts said in a press release Friday. “We look forward to making that change while working with the interim City Manager and the Interim Chief, as well as the individuals who will fill those positions on a permanent basis.”

(This story was last updated at 4:30 a.m. Monday.)

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