St. Louis Metropolitan Police

Clouds of tear gas engulf W. Florissant Ave on Aug. 17, 2014.
Durrie Bouscaren/St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 4:12 p.m. with comments from attorneys.)

The three agencies that made up the "unified command" during protests in Ferguson over the summer will have to provide warning before using tear gas or other chemical agents to disperse peaceful crowds.

Mayor Francis Slay with police officials 3.23.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern

A spike in daytime burglaries and the shooting death of a 6-year-old boy near O'Fallon Park are the driving factors behind the latest policing hotspot by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

"Catching the bad guys, making the neighborhood safer. That's what this is about," said Mayor Francis Slay, who spoke to the officers at their daily pre-shift meeting. "It's not as simple as that, of course, but certainly that's the bottom line." 

stl police license
Rachel Heidenry

Can public employees keep records private after a judge has ruled they should be released under Missouri's sunshine law?

That is the question that a panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals will consider Wednesday in a session at the Washington University School of Law.

Terry Kennedy and John Chasnoff chat after committee approval of a civilian oversight bill on February 9.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Six months to the day after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, a measure that would add an extra layer of public oversight to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department cleared its first legislative hurdle. 

The 8-1 vote by the city Board of Aldermen's public safety committee wrapped up months of negotiations between activists, aldermen and Mayor Francis Slay, as well as three lengthy and often contentious hearings by the public safety committee. Here's how members voted:

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Updated at 9 p.m. with deceased's name.

A 23-year-old black man was killed by police Tuesday in a shooting involving two white officers in St. Louis' Dutchtown neighborhood, according to St. Louis Metropolitan Police.

Police have identified the deceased as Ledarius D. Williams of the 1000 block of Durness Drive. His next of kin have been notified.

Police and protesters scuffle after police union business manager Jeff Roorda allegedly grabbed a protester at a January 28 meeting oh the public safety committee.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 11:55 a.m. Thursday with comments from the St. Louis police.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has released the following statement:

"A police report with multiple complainants has been filed relative to the incident that occurred during last night's public hearing at City Hall.  There is an ongoing investigation to determine what occurred. " 

Our original story

Chief Sam Dotson addresses officers on JAnuary 26, 2015
Katelyn Petrin/St. Louis Public Radio

Saying it's time to get back police back into the neighborhoods, St. Louis Metropolitan police chief Sam Dotson on Monday launched the first of three so-called "hot spots" -- or additional patrols designed to combat areas experiencing an uptick in crime.   

For the next week or so, officers from city-wide units will help patrol the Carr Square, St. Louis Place and Old North neighborhoods north and west of downtown. Officers have been told by their commanders to be visible and to focus on arresting people, even for minor crimes.

Alderman Antonio French said regular updates from St. Louis Police chief Sam Dotson would increase police accountability.
Joseph Michael Leahy

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee wants monthly updates from Police Chief Sam Dotson on the status of his department and crime in the city.

Committee members agreed Wednesday morning to request the updates as an interim solution while they work to establish a more permanent system of accountability. The police department has been under local control since 2013 after the city gained oversight from a state board.

Mayor Francis Slay announces an initiative to increase the diversity of the public safety department
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 with approval of money.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved $39,000 of the proposed $50,000 for the minority recruitment program. An additional $11,000 may be available next fiscal year. The city and the Ethical Society of Police must still sign a contract outlining the details.

The grant comes as the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department faces a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over its promotion policies. The St. Louis Fire Department has faced several lawsuits over the same issue.

St. Louis Police Department Detective Deandree Davis, far left, and Officer Darius Rutling, Karen Kalish and Woerner Elementary School principal Peggy Meyer discuss the Books and Badges program with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 15, 2015.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

After an uneventful police ride-along, Karen Kalish had an idea. She wanted to match police officers with young students who struggle with reading. For the past 12 years, Books and Badges has paired St. Louis police recruits and elementary school children.

Mayor Francis Slay and chief Sam Dotson at a press conference on January 15, 2015, discussing six homicides in 13 hours.
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 1:35 p.m. Friday with additional information about the crimes.

A spate of violence in St. Louis overnight Wednesday left six people dead in five unrelated incidents.

"This is a big black eye on our city," a somber Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference Thursday evening. "I have a tremendous amount of sympathy for the families of these victims. This is something that we're not proud of." 

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

Updated with comments from police chief Sam Dotson and circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce.

Even though overall crime continued its downward trend in St. Louis, 2014 was a violent year in the city, with 159 people killed. 

Police chief Sam Dotson addresses Tower Grove South residents at a community meeting on December 12, 2014.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated January 6, 2015, at 1:15 PM:

A federal judge is extending a court order that requires police to provide sufficient warning before using tear gas to give lawful protesters a chance to leave.

U.S. District Court Judge Carol Jackson on Tuesday gave attorneys representing protesters and police 45 days to continue what one lawyer called “good faith” settlement discussions on policy changes regarding the use of tear gas. Both sides met on Monday and participated in a conference call, and agreed more time was needed.

Logos of the St. Louis County and St. Louis Metropolitan Police.
St. Louis County website / file photo

Thousands of people in St. Louis and St. Louis County are a hundred dollars richer after police in both jurisdictions handed out $100 bills Tuesday as part of a one-day Secret Santa blitz.

Joseph Higgs from south St. Louis was one of the people who received the cash.

Higgs said that he has had more negative than positive experiences with police in the past so this experience has helped improve his opinion of law enforcement.

St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from Mayor Slay.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Wednesday he's found a way to fund 160 additional police officers over the next two years, plus get money for proven crime prevention programs and more training for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

"We can do things like look for more efficiencies, and do hiring freezes, things like that, but it's not going to raise the necessary dollars to hire that many cops," Slay said. "Cops are very expensive, but it's money well-spent."  

St. Louis Public Radio

This story will be updated. Updated at 1:45 p.m. with comments from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will take the first step Friday toward the creation of a civilian oversight board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

Sam Dotson and officers listen to James Clark before a hotspot patrol in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wants to put an additional 160 officers on the streets of the city over the next two years.  

"This is basically patrolling neighborhoods," Slay said in an interview. "This is more cops on the streets. We're not talking about administrative positions; we're not talking about other things that wouldn't have a direct impact on neighborhoods."

(via Flickr/Paul Sableman)

Updated with comments from the ACLU press conference, additional information on cameras, and additional comments from the city.

A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri finds the city of St. Louis is doing a poor job preserving the privacy rights of residents and visitors as it expands its network of surveillance cameras. 

Protest on 10-9-14, probably along Flora place
Joseph Leahy/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has begun encrypting its radio transmissions after a night of unrest in south St. Louis.  

Protest at Shaw and Klemm 10-8-14 re Vonderrit Myers
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis circuit attorney is pledging a thorough and transparent investigation into the shooting death of 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers. Myers was shot and killed Wednesday night in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis by an off-duty police officer.

A crowd gathers at Klemm Street and Shaw Boulevard at the scene of the fatal shooting Wednesday night.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1:40 p.m. with additional information.

A St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer working a second job with a private security company shot and killed a young black man, 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers Jr. The incident happened in the Shaw neighborhood in south St. Louis Wednesday night and drew a tense crowd that shouted at police and beat on their cruisers.

Ald. Joe Vaccaro (in yellow) examines a body camera during a meeting of the St. Louis Ways and Means committee. The city's public safety department hopes to purchase 1,000 of the cameras, at a price tag of $1.2 million.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The union representing St. Louis police officers is raising questions about the proposed $1.2 million price tag for body cameras for the department.

Video provided by St. Louis Metropolitan Police

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with comments from Chief Sam Dotson, Jeff Roorda, and Ald. Dionne Flowers.

On Tuesday, two officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shot and killed Kajieme Powell, who was 25 years old.

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.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

After almost five years of preparation, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department celebrated its move to new headquarters at 1915 Olive St. with a ceremonial march and ribbon-cutting Saturday.

Because the former headquarters at 1200 Clark Ave. needed $70 million in repairs, the department opted to find a new building instead. The former A.G. Edwards building was purchased in 2011 using $2.7 million in asset forfeiture funds, and the St. Louis Police Foundation contributed $3 million for renovations.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A second St. Louis judge has ruled that police officers have no right to expect that statements they make during internal investigations won’t be released to the public.

(via Flickr/Tyson Blanquart)

Fair St. Louis’s move to Forest Park this year is presenting the St. Louis Police Department with some unique challenges. That's according to police chief Sam Dotson, who expressed his concerns at a police board hearing Thursday. 

This is the first time the annual Fourth of July celebration will take place in the city's largest park. Dotson said the logistics of the fair have taken more time than he would like.  But he said it's important to make sure the plan to keep everyone safe is airtight, especially this first year.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

St. Louis police said last month’s decision to dedicate additional resources to the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood on the city's northwest side is paying off.

Since designating the area as a "hot spot," police have made nearly 90 arrests. Some were for probation and parole violations, others for crimes in progress. They also pulled 20 guns off the street during the 10-day period.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood, on the city's northwest side, will get some extra attention from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for the next week. 

St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

A video that shows two St. Louis police department officers striking a man has once again put the spotlight on the fraught interaction between police and the mentally ill.

The man, Mario Crump, has a history of mental illness. His family had called police for assistance because he was acting erratically. It’s not clear what happened before and after the 40-second video, which was shot by a family member. The incident happened March 21 at Crump's house in the 4300 block of Lee.