police

Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

It's home to just 822 residents living on 69 acres, but the city of Flordell Hills is getting its own police department. 

The St. Louis County suburb's contract with its slightly larger neighbor, Country Club Hills, expires at midnight Tuesday. Some of Flordell Hills' six officers had already been patrolling the streets of the town, which sits between Jennings Station and West Florissant roads.

More seats were empty than filled at Greater St. Marks Family Church during a discussion about bridging the gap between police and the community Saturday, September 27, 2014.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Four young people active in the Ferguson protests joined two St. Louis County Police officers and two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers for an emotional discussion Saturday about the barriers between police and the community. Before an audience of about 50, they offered and discussed suggestions to start bridging the gap.

Most of the panelists agreed that the effort led to some progress towards understanding.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The shooting deaths of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson and 25-year-old Kajieme Powell in St. Louis have focused a bright spotlight on the authority that police officers have to use force – sometimes deadly – to keep themselves and others safe.

Fatal use of force encounters are rare. But the questions raised when they happen reflect society’s broader struggles.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

More than one-third of the military equipment deemed surplus and made available in the Defense Department’s so-called 1033 program was either new or unused according to information provided Tuesday to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Representatives from the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Justice faced sometimes pointed questions about waste, weak oversight and almost nonexistent coordination among the programs their departments administer to help local police departments gain access to military equipment.

Rebecca Smith

On Tuesday's one-month anniversary of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, some local leaders focused on ways to move forward, while Brown's family called again for answers in the investigation.

Local elected leaders representing the Ferguson area came together Tuesday to discuss strategies to heal after the unrest that shook the city for more than two weeks in August following Brown's death.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus used an hour of so-called special orders on the House floor Monday night to draw attention to troubles confronting minorities across the U.S. with special attention paid to the recent unrest in Ferguson., Missouri. 

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, opened his comments by saying the pain felt in Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown “has stirred the conscience of the nation and has forced us to confront some very difficult truths.” 

Claire McCaskill's Flickr Page

Armed with a "laundry list of questions," U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will lead the Senate Homeland Security Committee Tuesday in a hearing to examine the militarization of local police departments. The hearing follows public outrage over what some saw as an excessive police response to protests in Ferguson following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white Ferguson police officer.

Three different federal departments have programs to help local police departments acquire military-type hardware, including armored vehicles, and tactical gear and weapons.

Honking cars backed up traffic along West Florissant Avenue Friday evening.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

After another night of looting, the union leader of the St. Louis County Police criticized the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s decision to respond to protests with a relaxed police presence.

“Even though they were very critical of the tactics used during the first four days, they are now using those same tactics once again,” Crocker said. “We have individuals who have been shot, officers who have been injured. People that have been assaulted and robbed.”

Protesters are greeted by lines of state and county police during a demonstration march on the Ferguson police station on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Armored cars, rubber bullets, riot shields and K-9 units have had a regular presence at demonstrations in Ferguson over the past week since a Ferguson police officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.

 

Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon put the Missouri Highway Patrol in charge in Ferguson and called for a softer tone in the police presence.

Many are wondering if the police went overboard in using force against the crowds that have gathered in Ferguson every evening since Brown's death.

Protesters are greeted by a wall of police officers after a march to the Ferguson Police department on August 11, 2014.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI / UPI

The calls for greater representation of minorities in the region's law enforcement ranks have grown louder in the wake of the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson police officer. Protesters want to see more minorities especially in the police departments serving predominantly African-American communities.

Two-thirds of Ferguson’s residents are black, according to 2013 census records. But there are only three African Americans on the city’s 53-member police force. The city council is also predominantly white, as is the mayor.

(St. Louis Public Radio file photo)

Like many cities around the country, St. Louis is dealing with the ongoing problem of urban crime. Just over half-way through the year, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson says overall crime is down over 11 percent, and violent crime is down almost 6 percent. Overall crime in the city is down almost 50 percent since 2006.

“We have many fewer crimes now than we did just five years ago,” Dotson said Wednesday. With one noticeable exception.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

A rumored threat made against Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has turned out to be false, according to the State Highway Patrol.

It centered on alleged comments in which someone was quoted as saying they wanted to hire someone to kill the governor.  MSHP Captain Tim Hull says they wrapped up their investigation this afternoon.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

Corey Allen, the assistant police chief in the small Metro East community of Centreville, has been indicted by a grand jury for making false statements to federal agents.

U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton says a federal grand jury found that Allen, 31, lied when he told investigators that he had not sold a gun to a convicted felon. The indictment alleges that Allen sold the felon, who has not been named, the gun in May, 2012.

Flickr/hunnnterrr

The Supreme Court has rejected an Illinois prosecutor's plea to allow enforcement of a law aimed at stopping people from recording police officers on the job.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers. The law sets out a maximum prison term of 15 years.

(via Flickr/davidsonscott15)

St. Louis County started construction on a new crime lab this afternoon and police say the facility will speed up processing time.

Department spokesman, Randy Vaughn, says the extra space will also give them the room they need for additional technicians to help take on a backlog of evidence.  

“This is also going to allow a separation of all the different types of forensics, chemistry, biology, our evidence custodians, our firearm custodians,” Vaughn says.  “That is going to make a vast difference in making sure we don’t have any type of contamination issues.”

(Flickr Creative Commons User essygie)

A former East St. Louis police officer who stole a Rolex watch planted by federal agents as a test has been sentenced to 66 days in prison.

Larry Greenlee, of Belleville, pleaded guilty in May to stealing the watch, which agents planted as part of an integrity test. Greenlee came across the Rolex, encircled with diamonds, in what he thought was a stolen car, which agents had bugged with recording devices.

The sentence was announced Friday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in southern Illinois.

(via Flickr/Be.Futureproof)

Now, no one in Illinois can stop firefighters or police officers from collecting charitable donations on roads - even if they wanted to.

Under a new Illinois law, public safety officials can't be denied permits to collect money for charities from drivers along roadsides. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law Friday and it takes effect immediately.

The governor's office says Illinois is the sixth state to adopt such a law. The others are Florida, Nebraska, Texas, California and North Carolina.

(Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio)

East St. Louis nightclubs and other local businesses are bankrolling extra weekend police patrols after a series of violent crimes.

Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. says the city needs more officers on the street but cannot afford them on its own.

“This is taking already existing officers and paying them to work this special detail," Parks said. "A detail that will be about six officers downtown and another two in the rest of the city where there might be late night activity.”

(via Flickr/kev_hickey_uk)

Updated at 1:55 to correct spelling of judge's name.

A second judge in Illinois has struck down a state law that requires all parties to consent before a conversation can be recorded.

The law in question makes it a felony to record without everyone's permission. Even recording public officials in public places can be illegal.

Cook County Judge Stanley Sacks ruled today that the law was unconstitutional because it could criminalize "wholly innocent conduct."

Joseph Leahy/SLPRnews

Police budget cuts 50 officers through attrition

St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom's budget proposal calls for cutting 50 officers through attrition, not layoffs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Isom presented the budget Wednesday to the Board of Police Commissioners.

The department is faced with a $3.8 million shortfall. The city allocated $168 million to the department - a 3 percent increase over last year. But pension costs came in $5 million higher than anticipated.

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