Prioritizes police training issues and legislative changes
ST. LOUIS - At its first meeting today, the Ferguson Commission’s Citizen-Law Enforcement Working Group decided to prioritize studying and recommending changes to police training and helping draft legislation that would improve police-citizen interactions and police oversight in Missouri.
"With the General Assembly convening in three weeks, we need to move quickly to prioritize the necessary legislative changes in Jefferson City that will lead to better police-citizen interactions across the region,” said Daniel Isom, director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety, Ferguson Commission member and Citizen-Law Enforcement Working Group lead. “Our group will also be moving quickly to suggest improvements to the continuing education training that police officers must undergo. This is an area where there is flexibility to make changes in training that can have a positive impact on both officers and the communities they serve.”
Currently, Missouri police officers must receive 48 hours of continuing education training every three years to maintain their licenses. Three of those hours must be in training that addresses the awareness of racial profiling. There is no mandated training in the area of police use of force. “Clearly these are both areas that should be examined since both police officers and the public would benefit if there were additional mandatory training in these areas,” Isom said.
As a long-term priority, the working group will examine how Missouri police agencies can gather and share more complete data on police-public interactions and create recommendations to increase department reporting on crimes in an effort to show a more complete picture of community-police interactions in the region.
Isom chairs the Citizen-Law Enforcement Working Group, and the membership of the working group will expand as the work of the group is defined.
The working group meetings are open to the public. They will next meet in early January.
The Citizen-Law Enforcement Working Group, which was the Ferguson Commission’s first working group, was established at the second Ferguson Commission meeting on Dec. 8. At the commission’s third meeting Monday, a second working group was established to look at making reforms to the St. Louis region’s municipal courts system.
The Commission is an empowered, independent and diverse group that is studying the underlying social and economic conditions underscored by unrest in the wake of the death of Michael Brown. Members include: co-chairs Rev. Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure, Kevin Ahlbrand, Rasheen Aldridge, Jr., the Rev. Traci Blackmon, T.R. Carr, Gabriel E. Gore Jr., Dan Isom II, Becky James-Hatter, Bethany Johnson-Javois, Scott Negwer, Brittany Packnett, Felicia Pulliam, Patrick Sly, Grayling Tobias and Rose Windmiller.
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