St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

St. Louis police chief candidates greet each other before the start of a town hall at Saint Louis University Law School. Dec. 14, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The six men and women who want to lead the 1,200 officers of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department met some of the residents they would serve Thursday night.

For the first time in department history, three of the finalists are from outside of the department. But the three internal candidates include interim chief Lawrence O’Toole, which angered some in the crowd.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 2:10 p.m. Nov. 20 with comments from Chief O'Toole — The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to investigate whether the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department violated the Constitution in the way it has handled recent protests demanding more police accountability.

Jeffrey Jensen, the federal prosecutor in St. Louis, announced the review in a brief statement Monday. It is based on a request made by Mayor Lyda Krewson and others, including U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-University City.

St. Louis voters will decide next Tuesday whether to boost the sales tax a half cent to fund raises for police and firefighters.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis will go to the polls next week to decide whether to give the city’s police officers and firefighters a raise by boosting the city’s sales tax by a half-cent.

Proposition P is the second sales tax on the ballot in six months. Approval would push the rate to nearly 12 percent in some parts of the city. And the current climate around policing in St. Louis is making the measure a tough sell.

LaShell Eikerenkoetter addresses police officers after protesters saw them use a Taser on a demonstrator.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The search for a new chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department — underway since Sam Dotson retired in April — is into its sixth month.  Applications were due on Thursday, and a new chief should be in place by January.

The final steps of the process are taking place with the department under a bright spotlight from protesters demanding more police accountability, and the scrutiny could impact the way the rest of the search plays out.

The Citizen Advisory Committee, formed by Mayor Krewson to give input on the city's search for a new police chief, listens to public comments at a meeting Tuesday evening.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Candidates interested in being the chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department have until Thursday to submit their applications for the job.

The city has been looking for a chief for the last six months after Sam Dotson's resignation. Phone interviews with qualified candidates are set to start in early November, with final interviews intended for mid-December. City officials hope to have a new chief selected by the end of the year.

St. Louis Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, D-1st Ward, joins a wide-ranging coalition of groups on Oct. 24, 2107 to oppose Proposition P, a half-cent sales tax increase that will primarily fund higher pay for St. Louis police officers.
Chelsea Hoye | St. Louis Public Radio

A wide-ranging coalition is urging St. Louis residents to vote "no" on a proposed half-cent sales tax increase intended primarily for police officer and firefighter salaries.

If the measure passes in November, Proposition P would push the sales tax in some areas of St. Louis to nearly 12 percent. Opponents say it’s not fair to force already-struggling parts of the city to pay for policing that doesn’t benefit them.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks before the Board of Aldermen's Public Safety Committee on Oct. 3, 2017.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner contends the current system of investigating a police officer who kills someone is “broken,” prompting her to ask for more than $1 million for her department to handle the cases from start to finish.

Gardner brought her proposal to the public safety committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Tuesday. Some committee members expressed support for the idea.

Protesters and small business owners march to City Hall to attend a Board of Alderman meeting a hold a press conference on Sept. 29, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Joe Vaccaro on Friday asked his Board of Aldermen colleagues to honor the city’s police officers, one week after they did the same for a black man killed by a white former police officer in 2011.

Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, introduced a resolution that thanks the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for working long hours to protect citizens and businesses during two weeks of protests since the Sept. 15 acquittal of Jason Stockley.

Relatives of Mansur Ball-Bey stand on the courthouse steps as attorneys speak to reporters on Thursday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The ACLU of Missouri filed a lawsuit Friday against St. Louis and St. Clair County for alleged police misconduct during 2015 protests after Mansur Ball-Bey was fatally shot by police.

The lawsuit claims officers used excessive force on protesters by “shooting tear gas and pepper spray at them though they were unarmed, non-threatening, non-violent, non-resisting and not suspected of committing any crime.”

Protesters marched through downtown St. Louis silently on Monday night. They wore blue tape over their mouths to represent "blue silence." Sept 25, 2017
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Protesters introduced a new demand Monday night: that St. Louis’ interim police chief step down immediately.

Their call for Interim Chief Larry O’Toole to leave the department’s head post comes more than a week into daily protests against a judge’s decision to acquit former officer Jason Stockley, who is white, in the 2011 fatal shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black man.

September 20, 2017 photo. About 100 people attended a town hall meeting at the O'Fallon Park Recreation Complex.
File photo | Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

The next police chief of St. Louis needs to reign in a department that has allowed its officers to too quickly use deadly force and frequently mistreat African-Americans, residents said Wednesday night.

St. Louis is preparing to hire someone to replace former Chief Sam Dotson, who retired April 19, the day after Mayor Lyda Krewson was took office. Since then, Larry O’Toole has led the department as interim chief.

HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Updated at 9:20 p.m. with the Post-Dispatch interview with Stockley — A former St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer is not guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith, a judge ruled Friday.

"This Court, as the trier of fact, is simply not firmly convinced of defendant's guilt," St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson said in his verdict. "Agonizingly, this Court has poured over the evidence again and again."

Immediately, protesters, who promised weeks of protests, amassed downtown. The St. Louis chapter of the NAACP called for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to review the case.

St. Louis Metro Police officers use bicycles to push back protesters at an anti-Trump rally in downtown St. Louis in November 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A white officer has settled a federal lawsuit he filed against the city of St. Louis in which he claimed that police officials promoted a less-qualified black officer to lieutenant colonel.

Maj. Michael Caruso's lawsuit is the third the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has faced in five years over promotions. The lawsuits were filed by black and white officers. Two of the suits, including Caruso's, blame individual decision-makers for alleged discrimination. A third, filed in state court, claims that the process is unfair.

The Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A half-cent sales tax increase that would generate $20 million a year for the St. Louis police and fire departments, and the circuit attorney’s office, is headed for the November ballot.

The Board of Aldermen voted 18-8 Friday to send the legislation to Mayor Lyda Krewson. She is expected to sign it soon.

Now, the work begins on selling it to the voters — something the mayor may have to do without the help of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

St. Louis city police officers attempt to block demonstrators during an anti-Trump rally in downtown St. Louis in November 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Parts of St. Louis would have the highest sales tax in Missouri under the half-cent increase the Board of Aldermen’s budget committee passed Wednesday.

Many committee members reluctantly voted for the increase, which will fund raises for police and firefighters if voters approve the measure this November. Should it pass, St. Louis’ sales tax would be at least 9.7 percent, going up to nearly 12 percent in some special taxing districts.

St. Louis city police officers attempt to block demonstrators during an anti-Trump rally in downtown St. Louis in November 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Two measures introduced at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday would ask residents or local nonprofits to pay more in taxes to boost the salaries of the city’s police officers, and stem a tide of departures for better-paying departments.

The sponsor of the measures, Alderman Steve Conway, wants his colleagues to act quickly on the measures. The current police contract expires July 1, the same day that the St. Louis County Police Department unveils its new pay rates, and city police union officials are worried that the exodus of officers will only speed up without some movement toward higher wages.

Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The union that represents officers of color in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department wants to know what the public wants to see in a new police chief.

The Ethical Society of Police is hosting the first community forum Thursday night at Vashon High School beginning at 6 p.m. Its president, Sgt. Heather Taylor, said the society plans to schedule at least one more forum, and conduct a survey.

Mayor Lyda Krewson addresses reporters on Fri., June 2, 2017, after a violent week in St. Louis left seven dead and 13 injured by gunfire.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Mayor Lyda Krewson said Friday that she’s “beside herself” over a rash of gun violence in St Louis this week that killed seven and injured 13 others, including a 7-year-old girl.

But even as she pledged more money for police officer salaries, Krewson seemed at a loss for how to bring the spiraling violence under control.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers raise their weapons at a preshift meeting 3.23.15
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The interim chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department asked the city’s Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to find money for hiring more officers and providing better pay. Liberal activists, however, want city leaders to ignore the drumbeats of demands for more officers and instead find funding for social services that could help stem crime.

The request from the police department will be competing with other urgent public safety needs, including funds for the drug Narcan, which reverses opioid overdoses.

Crime scene investigators with the St. Louis Police Department work a scene in the 3600 block of Wilmington Avenue, where an officer shot and killed a woman on May 10, 2017.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis woman has died Wednesday after being shot by police because she refused to drop her gun.

Officers began receiving 911 calls about a woman firing a gun in the Holly Hills neighborhood around 11:45 Wednesday morning, interim St. Louis Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said in a briefing that was broadcast on Periscope.

Busch Stadium in Downtown St. Louis.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis police are investigating how a fan at Tuesday’s St. Louis Cardinals game at Busch Stadium was hit by a stray bullet. Experts say it’s not as far-fetched a scenario as you might expect.

Police said it was the first time such an incident had happened at the stadium, which opened in 2006. The 34-year-old woman was not seriously injured.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson speaks with attendees before the start of a speech delivered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 31, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For the first time in its history, the St. Louis Police Department can look beyond its ranks for a new chief, something that officers and community members say the city should take full advantage of.

“That person shouldn’t have any connection to the department,” according to Sgt. Heather Taylor, the president of the Ethical Society of Police, which represents officers of color.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio | Katelyn Petrin

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson retired Wednesday, one day after Mayor Lyda Krewson took over. The news was welcomed by those who've been critical of the 47-year-old, including some Board of Aldermen members and the African-American officers' association.

 

"There will be a new direction. And there's new opportunity. In a new administration, you often change key folks," Krewson said.

 

Lyda Krewson dances with relatives, supporters and campaign staff after delivering her acceptance speech.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The demise of a publicly funded soccer stadium could mean the St. Louis Police Department sees more taxpayer money.

 

When voters approved a half-cent sales tax Tuesday for things like light rail expansion and neighborhood development programs, it automatically raised the use tax that businesses pay on out-of-state purchases.

Four St. Louis police officers were charged Thursday after an internal affairs investigation accused them of forging documents to collect thousands of dollars in overtime pay for work they did not perform.

Officers Brian Jost, Michael Langsdorf and Emin Talic face felony stealing and forgery charges, according to a release by the police department.  Officer Daniel O'Brien is charged with felony forgery and misdemeanor stealing.

Sharon Carpenter, St. Louis recorder of deeds,  spent several decades as a Democratic committeewoman for the 23rd Ward.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Recorder of Deeds office is in the crosshairs in Tuesday’s election, when voters will have to decide whether to eliminate the agency, which maintains public records, and put any money saved toward body cameras for police.

Ethical Society of Police president Sgt. Heather Taylor speaks to a forum on disparities in the St. Louis police and fire departments on July 7, 2016. Her organization has called on chief Sam Dotson to resign.
File photo | Wiley Price | St. Louis American

The organization that represents St. Louis' minority police officers plans to use a new whistleblower law to push for changes in the way officers are promoted, transferred and disciplined.

The law, which Mayor Francis Slay intends to sign before leaving office, allows city employees to report "Improper Governmental Activities" by other city employees to a variety of city agencies.

St. Louis Police officer Tom Lake (in the blue tie) poses for a picture with St. Louis aldermen on Friday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In some respects, the fact that Tom Lake was able to stand before the Board of Aldermen is breathtaking.

The St. Louis Police Department sergeant was shot in the face less than a month ago while driving in his car in south St. Louis. He survived his injuries, and received a rousing welcome from city aldermen on Friday.

With wounds from the shooting still visible near his cheek, Lake told reporters was “doing as good as anybody could expect after the trauma that’s happened.”

People started a blue ribbon chain at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church near Francis Park to honor a police sergeant shot Nov. 20. The ribbon extended to Pernod and Hampton, where the shooting occurred.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 21 at 8  p.m. with video from Chief Dotson — St. Louis Metropolitan Police  officials say the suspect in the ambush of a police officer has been killed in a shootout. Chief Sam Dotson said 19-year-old George P. Bush III was shot hours after he pulled up beside a marked police car near the Hampton Village Shopping Center in south St. Louis and shot a 46-year-old police sergeant, who was released from the hospital Monday morning.

Civiliam Oversight Board members line up to get their picture taken after their first meeting in March for ID badges. (File photo)
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since the Civilian Oversight Board was officially established in 2015, the St. Louis Police Officers Association has threatened to sue.

The promised legal action began earlier this month. On Monday, a St. Louis Circuit Court judge will hear arguments on whether the Civilian Oversight Board should be able to access records from internal affairs investigations of St. Louis police officers.

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