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St. Louis County Police

St. Louis Region Copes With 15 Children Killed This Summer

Aug 23, 2019
Mary Norwood, the grandmother of 7-year-old Xavior Usanga, speaks to Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-3rd Ward and Maj. Mary Warnecke, the deputy commander of the Bureau of Investigations, on Aug. 13, 2019. Xavior was the 7th child killed in the city this year.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Jason Eberhart, 16, was a football player ― like his brother who plays for Ball State University and his father who played for the University of Illinois.

“He comes from a family of football,” said his cousin and mentor Charles Shelton. “He was the middle child of five. We were really hoping that football was going to keep his mindset, but unfortunately life in the streets got the best of him.”

On Sunday, August 18, Eberhart died from multiple gunshot wounds in the Carr Square neighborhood at 2 a.m., and the investigation is ongoing. His family is taking his death very hard, Shelton said, which is why he was speaking on their behalf.

Austin Fuller | St. Louis Chess Club

CHESS Cops was launched in February 2017. What began as a simple breakfast with officers and students enjoying chess over coffee and orange juice ultimately expanded into a multifaceted community outreach program.

The St. Louis Chess Club, St. Louis schools, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis County Police Department partnered to start St. Louis CHESS Cops — or Chess Helping Enhance Student Skills. CHESS is currently comprised of city and county police officers who utilize chess to teach lessons on critical thinking, planning and logic.

St. Louis County police officer Benjamin Granda joined producer Alex Heuer on St. Louis on the Air. April 16, 2019
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

High-speed police chases make for great television. Last month, FOX 2 helicopters picked up a chase that began with a carjacking in Illinois and ended with two suspects being arrested after they fled the vehicle in south St. Louis County.

But how and why officers decide to pursue suspects has been the subject of increasing scrutiny, including a recent St. Louis Post Dispatch investigation of St. Ann’s particularly aggressive pursuit policies within the municipality. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis County police officer Benjamin Granda joined producer Alex Heuer to discuss how officers decide when or when not to chase down a suspect, and how attitudes toward chases have shifted recently.

Webster Groves fire Capt. Jason Simpson puts a sign in the yard of a Proposition R supporter on March 12, 2017. Prop R is one of several public safety tax increases on the St. Louis County ballot in April.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in St. Louis County, various municipalities, and in St. Clair County in Illinois are being asked to open up their wallets during the April 4 election. Up for approval: a series of tax increases to boost spending on public safety.

There’s general agreement that the police and fire departments need the extra money, but requests by both specific municipalities and St. Louis County could confuse voters. Here’s a look at each ballot measure:

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger
File photo | Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis County law that would have set minimum operating standards for police departments in the county is in the hands of a three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals.

The law, approved in December 2015, set staffing, training and hiring standards. Departments would have been required to have at least two officers on duty 24-7 and conduct background checks on prospective officers that included psychological screenings. Elected officials in cities that failed to comply could be jailed, or the St. Louis County police could take over public safety services in the city.

Police officers from several St. Louis area departments salute Officer Blake Snyder's funeral procession as it arrives at St. Louis Family Church in Chesterfield on Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Law enforcement officers from around the region and across the country, along with private citizens, paid their final respects to St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder Thursday as he was laid to rest.

Snyder's funeral began with a procession of police cars escorting his body to St. Louis Family Church in Chesterfield, where they were greeted by flag-waving supporters and a salute from a line of uniformed officers, including members of the Missouri Highway Patrol and Creve Coeur Police Department.

St. Louis County police officer killed in shooting

Oct 6, 2016
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gives details of a shooting death of Officer Blake Snyder as a photo of the officer is shown during a press conference in Clayton. 10-06-16
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A St. Louis County Police officer has died following an early morning shooting on Thursday. Officer Blake Snyder was responding to a disturbance call when he was shot.

The suspect is an 18-year-old male who is being treated for gun shot wounds at a local hospital. He was shot by a second police officer.

police car lights
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Update Dec. 6- Police have identified the woman shot and killed by tactical officers as Sheilah Huck.

Two St. Louis County police officers shot and killed a 61-year-old white woman in north St. Louis County Saturday afternoon. Police said the woman was behaving irrationally and fired at the officers first.

Officers exchanged fire with the woman while trying to get inside her home in the 6600 block of Foothills Court near Florissant. Police said she had barricaded herself inside a few hours earlier, after shooting and injuring a neighbor woman.

Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Go to any law enforcement event in the St. Louis area and you’re likely to see them there -- men and women in kilts, duty pistols at their sides, bagpipes and drums in hand.

The St. Louis County Police Pipes and Drums began a dozen years ago as the side project of three St. Louis County officers who are also life-long musicians. As members of the only law enforcement pipe band in the state, they use their musical talents to honor the work of law enforcement around the state and the country.

How did the band get going?

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar at a press conference Thursday, Sept.4
File photo by Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A third federal review of policing in the St. Louis area is due out this week.

The Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services, an arm of the Department of Justice, began what's called a collaborative reform initiative with the St. Louis County police last September, at the request of Chief Jon Belmar.

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

A report from the Department of Justice on how police responded to protests in Ferguson following the shooting death of Michael Brown last summer has drawn praise and criticism from individuals who were involved in the protests on all sides.

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

A report by the U.S. Department of Justice examines a chaotic and often uncoordinated response to the protests that erupted after the shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014.

The Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services on Wednesday released its after-action report on the police response to the 17 days between when Brown was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and his funeral.

Through the Positive Ticketing Program (first started in Canada), North County police will reward kids doing good or showing good behaviors with "tickets" for free food or tickets to events.
Courtesy of Royal Canadian Mounted Police - Wood Buffalo

Under a new program, police in north St. Louis County are handing out "tickets" to young people — for doing good deeds.

The "Positive Ticketing Program" recognizes and rewards young people for making contributions to their community and showing good behavior. In addition to police issuing the "tickets," members of the public, school administrators and clergy can also nominate a young person who has done good works. 

Photo of police car
Jason Rojas | Flickr

Do police do enough to de-escalate encounters with people who may be mentally ill? Why do police use guns against a person with possible mental health issues who is armed with only a knife?

These are questions that seem to crop up after any incident in which police use deadly force against someone who seems to suffer from mental health issues. They arose last week after the fatal police shooting of a man with a history of mental illness in Jennings, and after the death of Kajieme Powell last year in St. Louis.

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.

St. Louis County Police officers unload a truck of food donations at the St. Louis Area Foodbank on Monday.
Courtesy St. Louis County Police

The St. Louis County Police Department donated its remaining cache of more than a ton of nonperishable food items it received from supporters during the unrest in Ferguson to the St. Louis Area Foodbank on Monday.

Back in November, county police put out a call for donations of grab-and-go, hand-held snacks that officers could easily take with them to eat during long shifts. The department said people from across the St. Louis area and the country sent in hundreds of pounds of food.

St. Louis Area Police Give Away $100 Bills

Dec 24, 2014
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 County Executive Charlie Dooley talks to reporters after Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting.
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated at 5:39 p.m., Dec. 16 with interview with U.S. Attorney Robert Callahan.)

The U.S. attorney’s office reports that it has found no wrongdoing -- by anyone -- in the awarding of a subcontract for the St. Louis County police department’s new crime lab. 

    

Police are facing increasingly hostile, anti-law enforcement crowds as protests continue in the St. Louis area.
Stephanie Lecci

Since Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown in August, police have been facing hostile protests with often a strong anti-law enforcement bent.

Chants of "No justice, no peace" have been mixed with much more violent anti-police messages, including threats of shooting down police helicopters and other vulgar terms.

But it's not just shouts being hurled at police; they've also had Molotov cocktails, rocks, and bottles of urine thrown their way, even been spit at and fired upon.

Police response to violence

St. Louis County Police Take Over Ferguson Security

Oct 3, 2014
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Police Department has taken over command of security of protest demonstrations in Ferguson. Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson asked St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar to take over Friday after consulting with Ferguson’s mayor and city manager.

Belmar said that the Ferguson police department lacked the manpower to handle the level of activity in Ferguson.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After protests in Ferguson flared up overnight, Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson says he’s ready to use the riot gear that became a staple of the August demonstrations over Michael Brown’s death.

But Johnson said he’s not willing to place automatically a larger police presence on West Florissant Avenue, adding that he’s monitoring the situation on a “day-by-day” basis.

Along with mental health advocates and law enforcement officials, St. Louis County Police Sergeant Jeremy Romo coordinates the St. Louis-Area Crisis Intervention Team program.

The program trains officers to respond to people in a mental health crisis. As St. Louis Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reported for NPR Tuesday morning, the need for this service becomes more pronounced as funding for mental health services declines in many communities.  

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer brought about an intense examination of the conduct, racial composition and “militarization” of local police departments.

But one topic that hasn’t been talked about that much is how elected representatives exert fairly little direct control over the region’s law enforcement agencies.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

This is a fast moving story and we will update here when we can give a more complete picture about what we know. 

For the latest real-time updates follow our reporter Rachel Lippmann on Twitter @rlippmann.

Amid a second day of protests, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gave the first details from his department’s investigation into the fatal shooting Saturday of 18-year-old Mike Brown by an unidentified Ferguson police officer outside the Canfield Green Apartment complex.

(Provided by St. Louis County police)

A 13-year veteran of the St. Louis County police force was suspended without pay Friday after being charged with second-degree assault for breaking a man's hand with his police baton. 

County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Dawon Gore, 44, has not been at work since the April 21 incident at the North Hanley MetroLink station. Gore had been serving as an officer in the MetroLink unit. 

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is pushing for more money to combat human trafficking. 

Dooley asked the St. Louis County Council Tuesday for $250,000 to establish a computer forensic laboratory and hire two forensic examiners. That equipment and additional personnel could help establish evidence that could prosecute sex traffickers. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

How would you react if a gunman entered your workplace?

A group of St. Anthony's Medical Center employees got the chance on Monday to learn what they would do in that situation -- and how to respond so they are more likely to get out alive. 

They experienced this through a program called "Run, Hide, Fight." Participants are trained to know when is the best time to do each of those things. 

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon)

Updated with additional quotes from Chief Belmar.

A 27-year veteran of the St. Louis County police has been selected as the department's eighth chief.

"I am pleased to announce the selection of Lt. Col. Jon Belmar as the new chief of the St. Louis County police," police board chairman Roland Corvington announced this morning, after about an hour of closed-door deliberation.

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch may need to make a little room on his wall. 

That’s because Fitch has received two resolutions from the St. Louis County Council celebrating his service – under very different circumstances. The one he received Tuesday commemorates his retirement, which takes effect Friday. (Fitch is starting a consulting company to advise law enforcement groups and companies.)

Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 2:15 p.m.,  Friday, Dec. 13

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch has been using his blog to make blockbuster declarations lately, but perhaps none was as stunning as Friday’s post in which he announced his retirement as of February.

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