police

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Since 2000, police departments in the state of Missouri have been required by law to report information about their traffic stops – including the race of the person pulled over. 

(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)
(WhiteHouse.gov video screen capture)

President Barack Obama says he has asked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to create a plan for a “careful and appropriate response to any potential violence” that may occur after the grand jury decision in the Darren Wilson case is made public.

Speaking Sunday on ABC’s This Week, the president said he doesn’t want a repeat of this past August.

Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, is leading a study for Better Together about how the region's policing agencies should be structured.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Better Together formed last year, it was already planning to examine how the region polices itself — especially because St. Louis County has so many different departments that patrol towns and cities.

But the review became more than just a theoretical exercise after the shooting death of Michael Brown. The roughly 60 police departments throughout St. Louis County underwent intense scrutiny for aggressive ticketing, little racial diversity and the targeting of African Americans. There have been widespread calls for substantial changes.

Police cars park outside of the Bel-Ridge Municipal Complex, which includes spaces for Village Hall, its municipal court, and the police department.  11/8/14, Durrie Bouscaren
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

A 2012 audit of the police department in Bel-Ridge is getting new attention from some members of the community's Board of Trustees.

Longtime resident and trustee Rachel White has been pushing for change since she found the audit this year in a stack of papers. It showed mismanagement and possible misconduct of officers. But the entity with the power to address it — the Village Board of Trustees —  had failed to make major changes.

Footage of cell phone video of the August 20 death of Kajieme Powell
Credit Video provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police

Legal representatives of the family of Kajieme Powell say they filed a lawsuit seeking financial damages Friday. The 25-year-old was shot and killed by two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers in August.

The defendants in the suit are the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the two officers involved in the shooting.

The St. Louis Police Wives' Association works to support law enforcement officers and their families.
SLPWA website

As protests have continued in the St. Louis area following August's police shooting of Michael Brown, it's not just responding officers who are feeling the strain. It's also affecting their families.

One St. Louis organization that specifically provides support for police and their families is now reporting that it has doubled in size in recent weeks. And other members of police families are becoming more vocal and public with their support for law enforcement.

Toll on families

St. Louis Police Officers Association president Joe Steiger, business manager Jeff Roorda and attorney Brian Millikan comment on the lab tests that found gun residue on the hand of Vonderrit Myers during a press conference Tuesday.
Stephanie Lecci

Lab results show gunshot residue was found on the 18-year-old who was fatally shot by an off-duty St. Louis police officer in the Shaw neighborhood last week, according to new information released by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Tuesday.

The tests were conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's crime lab. The results found gunshot residue on Vonderrit Myers, Jr.'s, hand, inner waistband, front and back jeans pockets and black t-shirt. The released statement also read: 

Police and protesters face off in Ferguson during the marches in August.
Stephanie Lecci / St. Louis Public Radio

There is a phone number that Ferguson protesters share: 314-862-2249.

That's the jail support number that they spread through Twitter and on fliers. Others write it on their arms in case of arrest.

The number goes to a hotline staffed around the clock by Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. The group gives individuals rides home from jail and raises money through a website to pay bonds. So far, it has served about 210 people, according to organizer Molly Gott.

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.

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