Columbus business owners say there’s too much policing

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chief: force saving lives, reducing accidents

Columbus Town Council heard strong concerns from a couple last week that the town’s police department is over the top.

Council met Thursday, Feb. 21 and heard from David and Brenda Searcy who said an article in the Bulletin that day reported Columbus was beating out 1,000 other departments in the state.

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David Searcy, who said he’s been a Columbus business owner for about 30 years, said Columbus officers are everywhere, saying they are seen at the top of the Saluda grade and out of state. He said Columbus officers “seem to be everywhere.”

“As a business owner I don’t like it,” David Searcy said. “I’m ready to close up shop and leave town. They are stopping people when they don’t need to be.”

David Searcy continued to say officers don’t give warnings and once someone is in court they don’t have a chance because it’s all about money.

“I don’t feel like I’m proud to be in Columbus anymore,” said David Searcy.

Columbus Police Chief Chris Beddingfield addressed the concerns and said, “it’s not popular when you enforce the law.”

He told council and the public that anyone who feels they have been treated unfairly or unprofessionally should contact the police department and file a complaint. People also have recourse through the court system, he said.

Beddingfield said his officers give many warning tickets and the enforcement has cut down on accidents dramatically.