Police

Dotson Precautions Tweet
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The deadly ambush of police in Dallas is prompting law enforcement in the St. Louis area to take precautions to better protect officers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says he is taking steps to “maximize the safety of officers” throughout his department.

They include:

Delrish Moss
Provided by the Miami Police Department

Ferguson has selected a veteran of the Miami police department to be its new police chief.

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

A Kansas City-area Republican is sponsoring a bill that would set limits on when police camera footage is public record in Missouri.

The bill would block access to body camera recordings shot in homes, hospitals and schools unless the investigation is closed and someone in the video requests it.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Black males are 21 times more likely than white males to be killed by a police officer. With statistics like these in mind, a Saint Louis University professor and public health researcher has recently proposed concrete steps to reduce police shootings of black males in the Journal of Urban Health.

Protesters outside St. Louis County headquarters on Feb. 2, 2015 call for reforms of the municipal court system.
File photo by Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014, there was a flurry of activity surrounding police and municipal court reform, as a well as public safety. Those efforts spilled over into 2015, which saw some changes come to St. Louis and St. Louis County.

On Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” we discussed the year’s biggest public safety, courts and police news with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann, who has been covering these issues for several years.

Organization for Black Struggle members organize activists and Ferguson residents into a group outside the Ferguson Police Department Thurs Dec. 3, 2015 to call for public input in the city's consent decree.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

As negotiations to reform the Ferguson Police Department continue between the city of Ferguson and the U.S. Department of Justice, a group of Ferguson residents spearheaded by the Organization for Black Struggle says it’s concerned that the taxpayers and community members don’t know the details of those negotiations.

The group, known as the Ferguson Collaborative, wants community stakeholders to be able to weigh in at a public “fairness hearing” before a judge signs off on the consent decree.

Office of Sen. Durbin

WASHINGTON - Just days after Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy stepped down, as part of the fallout from the police shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., is asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to investigate the police department’s “policies and practices.” 

Vinita Park mayor James McGee speaks against proposed standards for polcie departments in St. Louis County in December 2015.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council passed by a 4-2 margin legislation setting up operational, hiring and training standards for municipal police departments. The county executive’s office could effectively dissolve departments that don’t meet the benchmarks and force them to contract with another law enforcement agency. (Both the county executive’s office and county council would also have the right to review policing contracting arrangements between cities.)

St. Louis Police Chief Jon Belmar joined Stenger on Wednesday in announcing the minimum standards proposal.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council took a big step toward prompting municipal police departments to adhere to certain standards, a proposal that’s bringing about warnings of litigation from the county’s cities and towns.

Vinita Park Mayor James McGee waits his turn to speak at least week's St. Louis County Council meeting. McGee opposes a measure establishing standards on local police departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s pretty difficult to find two municipalities that differ more than Florissant and Glen Echo Park.

Florissant is one of St. Louis County’s largest and oldest cities – and possesses a fairly sophisticated police department. The roughly 160-person strong Glen Echo Park is one of the county’s smallest municipalities with a land area consisting of a whopping 0.03 square miles. It contracts with Normandy for police service.

But leaders of the two cities share a commonality: They’re both strongly opposed to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger’s push to establish standards on municipal police departments.

St. Louis International Film Festival

Nick Berardini was just a journalism student at the University of Missouri when he was sent out on an assignment that would impact his life and his career as a filmmaker. He was sent to Moberly, Missouri to report on a man who died while in police custody after being pulled over for drunk driving.

(Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio)

A statewide group that advises the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says the federal government needs to be gathering a lot more information about police tactics in Missouri and across the country.

The brief report summarizes two days of public hearings the Missouri Advisory Committee held last year in Kansas City and St. Louis. Members will have until Jan. 11 to comment on the summary. A full report is due in April.  

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger's proposal would impliment minimum standards for police departments to follow. If they don't meet those benchmarks, Stenger's office could effectively disband departments.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s now up to the St. Louis County Council to decide whether to approve or reject County Executive Steve Stenger’s plan to set minimum standards for the county’s 57 local police departments.

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, county Municipal League Executive Director Pat Kelly sought to soften the initial criticisms that some of his organization’s members have leveled since Stenger rolled out his proposal last week. Their concerns center on fears that some local police departments may have to disband.

Charles McClelland, Houston police chief, at the podium
Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

The push for criminal justice reform did not start with the shooting death of Michael Brown, but the events in Ferguson and elsewhere appear to have created momentum for change. More than 100 police chiefs from across the U.S. are in Washington, D.C., this week to push Congress and the White House to make “common sense” changes in criminal laws and sentencing options for nonviolent drug offenders.

One set of drawings up for sale at 10th Street Gallery
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Downtown Police Bike Unit is hoping to serve the community creatively while addressing gun violence. To this end, officers organized a show of artwork they produced. Funds raised from the sale of this work will be donated to Jamyla Bolden’s fourth-grade class in the Riverview Gardens School District.

Officer Solomon Thurman, III, serves in the bike unit and his parents run the gallery. He hopes the show lets the class know one thing.

“They’re not alone and she’s looking over them and her spirit inspired us as far as to help them,” Thurman said.

POST Commission members include Emanuel Cleaver III (left) and Sgt. Jeffery Hughley Jr., (center).
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri state commission tasked with developing new training and professional standards for law enforcement held a public hearing on Thursday. More than a dozen residents, elected officials and members of law enforcement took to the podium to voice their opinions in the student center at St. Louis Community College Florissant Valley over the course of two hours.  

St. Louis attorney Pamela Meanes points her hand like a gun as she talks about the the law governing police use of force Sunday, August 23, 2015 at Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Standing in the annex of the Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Sunday, St. Louis attorney Pamela Meanes told congregants that increased attention to African Americans shot by police has yet to translate into substantial changes to laws and policies.

The immediate past president of the National Bar Association, Meanes was the fourth speaker in the church’s lecture series on “The Ferguson Effect.” She spoke about the impact of Ferguson on the legal system.

“The legal effect on Ferguson is that we’ve shined a light on where the gaping holes are. In a year we haven’t fixed any of them,” said Meanes, a partner at Thompson Coburn. “We have debated cameras, but does Missouri have a camera law? No. We’ve debated training. Has Missouri passed a codified training program? No.”

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said police fired tear gas at protesters who blocked and refused to leave the intersection of Page and Walton.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19 with information on protests, police response - St. Louis police fired tear gas and made nine arrests Wednesday night after a couple hundred protesters gathered at Page Boulevard and Walton Avenue. Earlier near the intersection, police fatally shot Mansur Ball-Bey, an 18-year-old black man who, they say, pointed a gun at officers while fleeing from a house search.

Protesters on W. Florissant Avenue dance while chanting across the street at police
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

As night fell Monday, demonstrators returned to West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson to resume their vigil after Sunday night’s police-involved shooting. 

For several hours, things were calm. People marched up and down West Florissant. Some danced to the drum circles and other chanted slogans.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

With more than a hundred homicides already this year, St. Louis is no stranger to gun violence. On July 14, a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department sergeant was ambushed while working a second, security job in the early hours of the morning. The officer survived thanks to a bulletproof vest, and four suspects have been arrested in connection with the shooting.  

We independently confirmed the identity of the officer with the St. Louis Police, but have granted him anonymity out of his concern for the safety of his family in order to hear his perspective on the situation.

Karen Aroesty of the Anti-Defamation League leads a diversity awareness training for police cadets.
Nancy Fowler

A year of unrest and turmoil has yielded the beginnings of change in St. Louis — along with a whole lot of questions.

How do we untangle the deep, gnarly roots of racism? What is this thing called privilege? How do people of different races talk to each other about this stuff?

Local organizations that help people think through these issues report a significant increase in requests for diversity training since the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.

Tear gas was used in Ferguson. Nov. 24 2014
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The four regional law enforcement agencies that responded to the events in Ferguson last year in the first 17 days after Michael Brown’s death lacked protocols, consistent training and policing philosophies, according to a draft summary of a Justice Department report.

Ferguson protest 3/12/2015
Lawrence Bryant | St. Louis American

African Americans who live near where Michael Brown was shot showed a sharp decrease in how much they trust police and believe in their legitimacy in the weeks after Brown’s death, according to a survey by a criminologist at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Meanwhile, white residents who live near the shooting showed no decrease in support for police. In fact, there was a slight uptick in how much they trust police.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of We Live Here we introduce you to four police officers who discuss not only what life is like during the day-to-day grind of work, but also the question of whether or not race makes a difference for African-American officers in majority white police departments.

The reason we are presenting the police perspective to you is that we feel it's a point of view that hasn't received enough attention. And that's not just our idea.

Photo of police car
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Do police do enough to de-escalate encounters with people who may be mentally ill? Why do police use guns against a person with possible mental health issues who is armed with only a knife?

These are questions that seem to crop up after any incident in which police use deadly force against someone who seems to suffer from mental health issues. They arose last week after the fatal police shooting of a man with a history of mental illness in Jennings, and after the death of Kajieme Powell last year in St. Louis.

The shooting of Walter Scott
Wikipedia

The police killing of Walter Scott in South Carolina looks like an open and shut case of murder. But South Carolina, like Missouri and many other states, has confusing laws on police use of deadly force — laws that could provide Officer Michael Slager with a defense, experts say.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

We Live Here spent the last several weeks ramping up to explore race in St. Louis and, specifically, how systems intersect with people to create  a lot of the inequality in our region ... and around the country.

Now, we are moving from the general to the specific. We will spend the next several months exploring the criminal justice system.

Chief Jon Belmar said police questioned three people regarding the shootings but they did not turn up any suspects
File photo | Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County police are investigating an officer-involved shooting that left a Jennings man dead.

Thaddeus McCarroll, 23, was shot and killed by an officer on the St. Louis County police tactical team around 11:30 p.m. Friday night after allegedly charging at the officers with a knife.

A Taser, with cartridge removed, making an electric arc between its two electrodes
jasonesbain | Wikipedia

About four months before the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, police less than 15 miles down I-70 in St. Charles shot another man named Brown. The event barely drew any attention from anyone except immediate family and friends.

(St. Louis County Police)

For the first time in its 55 years, the St. Louis County police department is taking part of its recruitment process on the road.

Anyone who wants to enter the county's police academy has to pass a written test and a physical evaluation, as well as meet certain other criteria. Those tests are usually offered only at the academy building in Wellston, but this weekend, they'll both be offered at a neutral site.

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