News & Stories

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 7:44am by Diane Stiefermann

Community Engages with Ferguson Commission on Police Relations

St. Louis (city)

The Ferguson Commission’s second meeting was filled with discussion and discourse between community members, law enforcement leadership and the Commission. Tonight’s meeting created a space for a deep -- and often uncomfortable -- dialogue necessary for the healing process to begin. After the discussion, commissioners teamed up with the community in small breakout sessions to talk about racial profiling, use of force, and community-oriented policing.

Several issues emerged, and the Commission heard specific ideas to address these issues in both a short and long-term way. These include:

  • Defining and creating a community policing model that builds and fosters trust between law enforcement and the community it serves. 
  • Ending racial profiling by including more psychological training and focusing on hiring practices that include anti-bias testing.
  • Utilizing the state’s basic training and continuing education requirements to address training gaps in law enforcement understanding the community it serves, such as increasing interpersonal communications skills and de-escalation tactics.

As a result of the meeting, Commissioner and Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Daniel Isom II will lead a focused study on community-police relations and recommended policy solutions. Missouri’s statute gives the director of public safety broad latitude to further the professionalism of officers through the continuing education process.

At the Commission’s next meeting, Monday, Dec. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at St. Louis University’s Il Monastero, 3050 Olive St., St. Louis 63103, the Commission will focus on municipal court reform.

The Commission will hear from citizens impacted by these predatory practices, from those who have researched the implications of these practices, and will seek both short and long-term solutions to address these practices, which put so many people in our region at risk everyday.

“We call upon elected officials in St. Louis area municipalities that have been conducting these practices, particularly those that are in violation of state law, to take steps immediately to stop the predatory practices of preying on citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, with excessive traffic fine enforcement,” said Commission Co-Chairs Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure. “We also call upon state officials with authority to pursue enforcement actions against entities in violation of state law.” There are a number of short and long-term implications of these practices, so the Commission will establish a working group immediately to develop plans and recommendations.

The Commission is an empowered, independent and diverse group that will study the underlying social and economic conditions underscored by the unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. Members include: Rev. Starsky Wilson, Rich McClure, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Dan Isom II, Scott Negwer, Bethany Johnson-Javois, Gabriel E. Gore, Brittany Packnett, Rose Windmiller, Rasheen Aldridge, Jr., Grayling Tobias, Becky James-Hatter, Felicia Pulliam, Kevin Ahlbrand, Patrick Sly and T.R. Carr, Jr.

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