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Heated town hall meeting over problems at Clinton-Peabody complex

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ST. LOUIS - The top brass from the feds, state, and local police agencies met with folks who live in the troubled Clinton-Peabody apartment complex to discuss ways to get public feedback on creating safer neighborhoods.

Approximately950 people live in the Clinton-Peabody complex. Only a tiny fraction of residents showed up at a nearby elementary school for the town hall meeting.

All together, there were more law enforcement people and folks from social agencies than residents at the town hall. Authorities said it will take citizen involvement to bring change.

“I understand the problem with trust. We have to close the trust gap and the way you close the trust gap is you have to be present, you have to come to their community,” said Judge Jimmie Edwards, Director of St. Louis Public Safety.

The heads of the FBI, the DEA, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, and a number of other agencies filled the school cafeteria.

The meeting was scheduled two weeks after the feds served search warrants and arrested 18 people in the complex on a number of charges, including drug-related offenses. St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden spoke about his ongoing plans to help rid the area of crime. Friday night’s meeting was another move towards that goal.

“First they got to stop their officers and if they start with their officers and they can get a good rapport with the citizens, then they can make a change,” said Pamela Emrick, who lives in the complex.

“We need to work together to prevent this from happening again," said US Attorney Jeff Jensen. "We’re very concerned about their safety and we want to make sure these types of people don’t come back again.”

Judge Jimmie Edwards said the meeting was still worth it.

“That’s a good first step in developing a relationship with the community,” he said.

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