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(LISTEN): Columbia’s new police chief to focus on answering 911 calls and staffing

Incoming Columbia police chief Jill Schlude briefs reporters at city hall on November 15, 2023, as city manager De’Carlon Seewood and Mayor Barbara Buffaloe listen (photo courtesy of Columbia spokeswoman Sydney Olsen)

Columbia’s new police chief will be sworn-in during Monday night’s city council meeting.

18-year CPD veteran Jill Schlude tells reporters that she’s honored and humbled at the opportunity to serve her community in this new role. Ms. Schlude tells reporters that the city’s search process for the chief’s position was rigorous.


“If anybody doubts that I can tell you from the different phases, especially the two days, the panel interviews, there were a lot of people there. And so I feel like there were a lot of different viewpoints and input. It was not easy,” Schlude says.

Ms. Schlude tells 939 the Eagle that the number one priority will be answering 911 calls. She also notes that CPD is at about 63 percent staffing on patrol right now.

Ms. Schlude will be Columbia’s first-ever female police chief. City manager De’Carlon Seewood selected Schlude as the new chief earlier this month. She tells reporters it’s a huge advantage for her to come from inside the department. She notes she knows almost all of the other city department heads.

“I’ve known them for a long time. All of us, we were talking before the (television) cameras came on, you know the folks that are on command staff with me we all started at the department within six months of each other. So we’ve had a lot of experiences together both on the street and in the office, and I think that makes it a lot easier,” says Schlude.

Mr. Seewood says 18 candidates applied for the position, and that list was narrowed to eight semifinalists and four finalists. Mr. Seewood has told 939 the Eagle that Schlude shined during the interview process.

Mr. Seewood says 18 candidates applied for the position, and that list was narrowed to eight semifinalists and four finalists. Mr. Seewood has told 939 the Eagle that Schlude shined during the interview process. Schlude’s annual salary will be $165,000. Former Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones retired in August, after serving as chief since 2019. Matt Stephens is currently serving as the interim chief, until Monday.