Columbia police department introduce citizens to a new safety app

In 2021, the city of Columbia saw more than 320,000 visitors during Experience Columbia.
City of Columbia ramps up security with new app
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 8:57 PM CST
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Columbia, Miss., continues to embrace Christmas and the holiday spirit. It’s a city of about 6,000 people, but for six weeks, starting in mid-November, that number grows to about 320,000.

“Experience Columbia” is a multi-million dollar industry that impacts not only South Mississippi, but the entire state.

The Columbia Police Department created and introduced a tool for information and response. It’s a new and improved app called Atlas One, and it allows citizens to stay in one-on-one communication with police.

“Experience Columbia” kicks off Saturday, with the soft opening of its ice skating rink. Police said safety is the top priority making sure people stay on the nice, not naughty, list.

“It puts those officers in direct communication with the public,” Columbia Police Chief Michael Kelly said. “You can’t communicate enough when you have this many

moving parts in an event and this many people coming into a small community. This is just a platform for us to be able to talk,” he added.

The app will serve the community year-round, not just during the holidays. Kelly said after eight months of research, he’s confident Atlas One will help cut down on crime.

“For instance if there is a burglary in the Ridgewood community, we can set a time perimeter, like 30 minutes after the burglary occurs, or 30 minutes after our dispatcher were to send officers. It would have a message that would go out to our community.”

With virtual command, CPD can quickly contact other first responders in case of an emergency, too.

Jacob Harrison, director of business for “Experience Columbia,” said they hope to see a 30 percent increase in visitors this holiday season and first responders play a vital role in the events success.

“It’s just incredible the number of people it takes to bring this on,” Harrison, said. “I called the fire department (Wednesday) and they were there to help.”

Columbia police will introduce the app Monday.

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