Business Group Will Pay Consultant Helping St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Make Changes
The Regional Business Council will cover the cost of implementing recommendations made last year to improve the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
The group announced Friday it will hire consulting firm Teneo Risk for a year, starting on Monday. The firm issued a 42-page report on the department in December, outlining recommendations about bolstering public safety, including how to better address violent crime.
Police Chief John Hayden said in an emailed statement Friday that the most crucial recommendation is to create a more data-driven and community-focused crime-fighting strategy.
He said that senior commanders have been developing that strategy over the past few weeks, and that it’s nearly finished. They plan to put it into place soon. He did not provide more details.
Since the report came out, Hayden said the department has modified its crime meetings to include “a more tactical, solutions-based, crime focus on trend information,” updated every three weeks. The department also upgraded its 911 call system and process for managing records.
“The department has asked the RBC to sponsor continued support from Teneo to monitor the progress of the implementation of the various recommendations; provide additional insight, as potential new challenges emerge; and share ongoing feedback, as the department moves forward,” he said.
Hayden sent a letter earlier this month to Regional Business Council President and CEO Kathy Osborn, asking her to provide additional financial support. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Director of Public Safety Jimmie Edwards also signed the letter.
Jacob Long, a spokesman for Krewson, said in an email that the mayor is grateful for the business community’s continued investment. “Government, with its limited resources, cannot always make these opportunities possible,” he said.
Osborn declined to disclose how much money the group is paying Teneo, but she stressed that the project is all privately funded.
She said that covering the cost of the report was a “gift to the department” and that she’s glad leaders want additional help to implement the recommendations.
Osborn said reducing violent crime is a top priority for businesses.
“Because what we have found is in a number of these more vulnerable neighborhoods it's very hard to intervene and work on prevention — better schools, access to jobs — when there's that much violence going on,” she said.
The RBC also funded a separate report with the same consulting firm that looked at the St. Louis County Police Department. Osborn said she hasn’t heard from county officials about whether they’d also like funding to implement the recommendations. She said she’s willing to provide the money to do so.
Charles Ramsey, former police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, will lead the team of consultants working with the city’s police department on the changes.
He led the initial review, which found that understaffing contributed to the department’s issues. His recommendations included reducing the number of specialized units to put more officers on the streets and deploying them based on the amount of crime in an area, rather than equally across the city.
In the report, he said having too few patrol officers to respond to calls leaves little time for them to focus on strategic policing or developing better relationships with the community.
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