As the anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown looms, Chief Belmar says we can’t tear our community apart

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLAYTON, MO (KTVI) - August 9th will mark one year since the death of Michael Brown.

Since that day, the St. Louis area has certainly seen a lot of turmoil. Many small business owners in the Ferguson area lost everything.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says he personally watched 34 businesses burn last November and says we are a better community than that and we can never get back to that point.

To ensure that we don't, a lot of work has been done to build trust and relationships between police and the communities they serve.

Chief Belmar talked about court reform and another program that allows violators to pay it forward by making a donation to a food pantry instead of paying a traffic fine.

In addition to court reform, he says they've looked at professionalism within police departments, and worked toward community engagement, saying police departments can't be effective without it.

Though there has been positive change, Chief Belmar admits there definitely was a negative impact on the police force.

He says pay issues, long hours and certainly Ferguson has resulted in the loss of officers at a much greater rate than he's seen in years.

But, the good news is there are three academy classes right now, one that just graduated.

As we look forward to this weekend Chief Belmar doesn't expect anything like the community experienced last year.

But, he says they are obligated to prepare and the area police departments do have a plan in place.

He hopes the community understands there is too much at stake and we cannot afford to again tear this community apart.

Full interview with St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.