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

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden says the strategy of directing more police attention and resources to specific areas is working to curb violence in the city.

Thursday on St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden defended his crime-fighting strategy in the north St. Louis area known as “Hayden’s Rectangle.”

According to the 2018 Vehicle Stops Report, black drivers are stopped and searched far more than white drivers. The House Special Committee on Criminal Justice is holding a hearing to discuss solutions to the disparities.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Editor's note: This story is part of a collaborative-reporting initiative supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. All stories can be found here.

Missouri’s federally funded multi-jurisdictional drug task forces often go by macho names like Mustang, Comet and Nitro. They buy flashy electronic equipment such as Stingray surveillance gear and military paraphernalia. But some of the most colorful task forces have dodged accountability, failed to hold required public meetings and used what critics call “cowboy tactics.”

Court records show that Missouri’s federally funded drug task forces have often failed to set up required oversight commissions, failed to hold oversight meetings in public and repeatedly failed to respond to Sunshine Act requests for public information. 

Items stolen from properties being rehabbed in south St. Louis and St. Louis County sit in a city-owned warehouse on Dec. 23, 2019. Police say they recovered more than 800 items stolen over the last year.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis police say they have recovered more than 800 items stolen over the past year from properties being rehabbed in south St. Louis and St. Louis County.

“This was a sophisticated operation,” said Sgt. Tom Kitchell, supervisor of the 3rd District Burglary Squad. “They would drive around during the day and look for rehabs. They would look at signs in the windows, the permits in the windows, and look at the construction trucks or trucks outside. They would pick their targets a week or two in advance.”

The items police found included old suitcases, power tools, stained-glass windows, a refrigerator and a kitchen sink.

The Board of Aldermen chambers on Dec. 13, 2019.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is a step closer to banning so-called “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ minors. 

The Board of Aldermen voted overwhelmingly Friday to outlaw licensed medical providers from offering programs that claim to be able to change an individual’s sexual orientation. Mayor Lyda Krewson is expected to sign the ban.

More than double the number of black drivers than white drivers were stopped in St. Louis in 2018.
St. Louis Public Radio

Two St. Louis police officers whose racist social media posts were exposed by an advocacy group in June are no longer with the department.

Brian Millikan, an attorney for Ronald Hasty and Thomas Mabrey, confirmed Monday the two were fired Nov. 27. He said that decision has been appealed.

How St. Louis' Real Time Crime Center Protects Businesses Before People

Oct 27, 2019
A six-month joint-investigation by the St. Louis American and Type Investigations revealed that the center is operating under a privacy policy that the city acknowledged to community leaders was essentially a rough draft.
St. Louis American

This summer, the St. Louis region made national news after more than 15 children were killed by gun violence in four months, leaving city leaders struggling to push forward preventative measures.

“This is Third World living over here,” said Alderman Samuel Moore, who represents the city’s Fourth Ward in North St. Louis. “This is horrible that we live like that with all the murders and shootings.”

St. Louis police cadets Cearra Flowers (center left) and Mary Mazzola (center right)
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Lt. Darla Gray remembers being the last person to enter the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's cadet program before it was dissolved in 1981. Now Gray is helping to lead its return. The program started back up in 2018 and now boasts 64 aspiring officers.

"I was actually looking at retirement, and they told me they were starting the program back up and asked if I would like to help develop it," Gray said. "And I postponed my retirement to do it, because I believe in this program that much."

On Thursday's St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two of the young people currently participating in the cadet program as well as with Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards.

Bits of glass covers a sidewalk in downtown St. Louis after people broke windows on Sunday. (Sept. 17, 2017_
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis police officer has sued the city over the way he was treated while he was undercover during protests against police brutality.

Luther Hall was beaten by fellow police officers during a mass arrest of protesters in September 2017. He suffered serious injuries and has not returned to work. 

Rebeccah Bennett (left), Karishma Furtado (middle) and David Dwight (right) announce the publication of the State of Police Reform report. September 16, 2019
Chad Davis

A report from Forward Through Ferguson concluded that police departments in the St. Louis region have not enacted sufficient reforms to ensure racial equity in the way they police communities. 

The nonprofit organization released the State of Police Reform report late Monday. The report examined the Ferguson Police Department, the North County Police Cooperative and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department between 2014 and 2019.

Among its conclusions are that a growing number of activists engaged in reform are dissatisfied with the current state of policing and that the region needs a public safety model that does not rely on incarceration.

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.

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

St. Louis police say they are frustrated and angry that they are getting so little help in solving the murders of children.

Xavier Usanga, 7, became the city’s seventh homicide victim under the age of 17 this year when he was shot and killed Monday while playing outside in the Hyde Park neighborhood. Two other children have been shot and killed in cases that police are investigating as “suspicious sudden deaths.”

Adam Rockey, right, has been a "big brother" to Johnathan for more than 11 years. The local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters is recruiting first responders to be mentors for kids in the St. Louis area.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri is facing a volunteer shortage. 

More than 600 kids are waiting for a mentor — and about 80 percent are African American boys.

The local branch of the nonprofit is launching a program in the hopes of filling the volunteer gap and building trust within communities of color. The “Big Responders” program will pair police officers, paramedics and firefighters with kids in the St. Louis area. 

Demonstrators marched north along Grand Avenue in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood on June 2, 2018 to call more attention to issues of gun violence.
File photo | Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

It was the end of 2017, and St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden was looking at some troubling numbers.

Violent crime in the city had jumped more than 7% from 2016. Homicides had hit a 20-year high — 205. There were more than 2,600 shootings, and nearly 2,000 robberies. 

Public Safety director Jimmie Edwards defends the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department on Jan. 29, 2019 against charges that officers are obstructing  Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's investigation in the death of Katlyn Alix.
Andrew Field | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ public safety director has offered a vigorous defense of his police department following charges against two more officers Tuesday and criticism from the St. Louis prosecutor in another case.

“There is not a social pattern of dysfunctionality in the St. Louis police department,” Jimmie Edwards said Tuesday at a news conference. “We have an excellent police department. We ask them to go out and do a very difficult job every single day. And you know what? Most of them do it well.”

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Katlyn Alix, shown here in a January 2017 photo, was killed by a fellow officer Jan. 24, 2019  in what police say was an accidental shooting.
Provided | St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Updated 5:45 p.m. Friday with charges filed — An officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with two felonies in the Thursday shooting death of another officer.

Nathaniel R. Hendren, 29, faces involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action charges in the killing of 24-year-old Katlyn Alix. The incident happened early Thursday morning at Hendren’s apartment in the 700 block of Dover Place in the Carondelet neighborhood.

A six-month joint-investigation by the St. Louis American and Type Investigations revealed that the center is operating under a privacy policy that the city acknowledged to community leaders was essentially a rough draft.
St. Louis American

In a dimly lit room that resembles a college lecture hall, some five St. Louis police officers stare at a wall of screens.

They watch through cameras perched on stop lights or lamp posts as people cross intersections or convene at parks. Using controls at their computers, the officers can zoom in to identify people’s faces more than a block away from the cameras.

In this room, the officers monitor about 600 surveillance cameras citywide, as well as license plate reader cameras, sensors that can detect and locate gunfire, and three surveillance trailers that move throughout the city.

St. Louis police commanders listen as Chief John Hayden presents the 2018 crime statistics at a town hall on December 19, 2018.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ police chief says his strategy of focusing more resources on violent areas of the city has led to a nearly six-percent drop in crime compared to this time last year.

Chief John Hayden presented the 2018 crime statistics Wednesday night at a town hall at Forest Park Community College. Every category except rape and vehicle thefts has dropped compared to November of 2017.

Police officers form a line near Jefferson Avenue and Market Street. Dozens of people were arrested after blocking Interstate 64 on Oct. 3, 2017.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio

Lawyers and people who allege to have been victims of police misconduct during a series of protests in 2017 said they anticipate a federal grand jury indictment filed Thursday against four St. Louis police officers to lead to additional investigations.

The charges against three of the four officers include using excessive force during an arrest of an undercover officer. The officer was arrested during a night of protests related to the acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley in September 2017. Allegations against all four officers also include obstructing justice.

Police officers line up on Washington Ave. in downtown St. Louis on Sept. 28, 2018 as people protest against the Stockley verdict and against mass arrests during a protest the previous week.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7:15 p.m. with comments from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — Four St. Louis police officers were indicted on federal charges Thursday in connection with the assault of an undercover officer during protests related to the Jason Stockley court ruling in 2017.

The four St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers named in the indictment are Dustin Boone, 35, Bailey Colletta, 25, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27. All have been suspended without pay.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway announces the findings of an audit of the state's sex offender registry on Oct. 1, 2018. Her review found nearly 8 percent of the offenders required to register were not compliant.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m. with comments from the St. Louis Police Department — Police in Missouri do not know the whereabouts of nearly 1,200 sex offenders who are required by law to register with law enforcement — or nearly 8 percent of the total population who are supposed to be tracked.

An audit released Monday by state Auditor Nicole Galloway found that nearly 800 of those individuals have committed the most serious crimes, such as rape or child molestation in the first degree.

A St. Louis police officer looks out at protesters outside of police headquarters Sunday night, Sept. 17, 2017.
File photo | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

More than a dozen people who were arrested protesting the Jason Stockley verdict filed suit Monday against the City of St. Louis saying police tactics violated their civil rights.

The nonprofit law firm ArchCity Defenders filed the 12 federal lawsuits on the anniversary of the mass arrests near Washington Avenue downtown. The individuals arrested included protesters, observers, an undercover police officer and members of the media.

On Aug. 31, 2013, then-Mayor Francis Slay signed an executive order returning control of the St. Louis police department back to the city.
FIle photo | Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Five years ago, control of the St. Louis police department returned to the city.

For more than 150 years, a state-appointed board had overseen the department, even though city residents paid for the services.

Opponents and supporters of the transition have different takes on how the last five years have gone.

File photo | Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated September 1 at 4:25 p.m. with response from Gardner — The St. Louis chief of police says none of his department’s leadership was involved in developing a list of officers who will no longer be allowed to bring cases to court, contradicting claims of Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.

“There is no indication that the list was properly vetted,” Chief John Hayden said in a statement released Saturday.” This list is an unnecessary overreach which would be better handled on a case-by-case basis.”

St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner announces on May 30, 2018, that her office will drop a felony computer-tampering charge against Gov. Eric Greitens.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis prosecutor’s office will no longer accept cases from 28 St. Louis police officers, and is reviewing the testimony they have offered in others.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner provided no details on why she is excluding the officers. In a statement, she called it her responsibility to defend the integrity of the criminal-justice system.

The St. Louis Street Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department are working together to install barriers along North Broadway to reduce cruising.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

On the evening of July 4 of this year, the Energy Express Travel Center on North Broadway Street looked like the scene of a neighborhood party. Video footage from that night released by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows dozens of cars converging on the gas station lot. Soon, individuals carrying firearms and wearing ballistic vests appear. 

Video footage from that same location on July 29 shows a similar gathering, but this time people begin firing their weapons into the air before returning to their cars and racing off into the night.

Robert G. Lowery served as both the police chief and the mayor of Florissant.
City of Florissant

Robert G. Lowery Sr., the former police chief and mayor of Florissant, died Monday night at the age of 79.

He started his policing career at the age of 16 as a call-box operator for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. He began his work in Florissant in 1961, when he served as a patrolman for the city’s police department. He eventually became a detective and was instrumental in forming the city’s first detective bureau in 1963.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and then-St. Louis interim Police Chief Larry O'Toole address reporters on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A former candidate in the running to become the police chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department last year has alleged employment discrimination by the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Police Lt. Col. Larry O'Toole filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and another with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging employment discrimination.

Members of the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress present a $900,000 check to provide job training opportunities for youth programs. The investment aims at improving public safety.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council will provide $900,000 dollars to several local organizations in an attempt to bolster public safety.

The announcement made Wednesday aims at increasing job training opportunities for at-risk youth in St. Louis. 

Five organizations will receive investments, including the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Better Family Life, Inc., STL Youth Jobs, The Little Bit Foundation and the North Side Community School. Each organization has programs aimed at young people for job training or education.

The homicide rate in Missouri from 1999- 2016 continues to rank higher than in surrounding states.
Richard Rosenfeld | University of Missouri-St. Louis

Missouri has the highest black homicide rate in the United States, according to a report by the Violence Policy Center.

The study, called the Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2015 Homicide Data, examined federal data from 2015. It found that the homicide rates for blacks in Missouri is 46.24 per 100,000, more than double the national black homicide rate of 18.67 per 100,000. (The national white homicide victimization rate of 2.67 per 100,000.)

St. Louis County Police car
Paul Sableman | Flickr

St. Louis County police are a step closer to using body and dashboard cameras on a full-time basis.

The department on Tuesday officially asked companies to submit bids for 350 dashboard and 120 body cameras. Companies have until May 4 to respond.