Group questions SLMPD promotions

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ST. LOUIS – The Ethical Society of Police is questioning the way promotions are determined within the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.  The organization released a statement Tuesday characterizing recent department promotions as a reflection of “cronyism, typical SLMPD politics, and other biases.”

E.S.O.P. said the most recent case involves an African-American female police lieutenant with 30 years on the job.  They question why she has not been promoted to captain.  She has more investigative and administrative experience than 2 lieutenants who were promoted, according to E.S.O.P.

“When this is a lieutenant who has close to 30 years and has a very high performance, how does the chief and the public safety director stand behind those decisions?” asked Rev. Phillip Duvall, community spokesperson for E.S.O.P.

A statement from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department reads, “The chief makes his promotional selections based on the candidate’s resume and work ethic, along with the current needs of the agency.  He will continue to do so.”

ESOP said of the current 10 St. Louis Metropolitan Police captains, none of them is an African-American woman.  Duvall said E.S.O.P. is not asking for anyone to be promoted simply because of their race.  He said the process should be fair and believes diversity in the department’s leadership is key to building trust in a community that is diverse.


“The Ethical Society of Police (E.S.O.P.) isn’t asking for unearned promotions in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD). However, we question some promotions by SLMPD Chief John Hayden and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards as cronyism, typical SLMPD politics, and other biases.

E.S.O.P. members have clearly been some of the most qualified but overlooked candidates for the rank of command and upper command. Cronyism and other biases are still core issues in the City of St. Louis, and those issues continue under Hayden and Edwards.

The E.S.O.P. board endorsed Hayden. The board would vote the same today because officer corruption is the number one priority in SLMPD, and no other candidate for Chief in 2017 was qualified in that crucial area. However, Chief Hayden will not get a pass because of our endorsement.

Hayden and Edwards failed to promote the most qualified candidate to Major in 2017 and Captain in 2019. Both are members of E.S.O.P. and black. The black male candidate for the rank of Major had more investigative experience and patrol experience than the two candidates promoted to the rank of Major in 2017. This candidate later won a $1.1 million discrimination lawsuit against SLMPD. He was passed over a second time for promotion to Major in 2019. Please note, one of two candidates Hayden promoted to Major in 2017 was his close friend.

Our most recent concern with Hayden and Edwards’ promotion decisions is for the rank of Captain. On November 14, 2019, a black female Lieutenant with 30 years of experience, who also is a veteran and works within her community, volunteering countless hours of her own time, was not promoted. No one in SLMPD has her internal resume and success. This Lieutenant is often tasked by Hayden and others with the most challenging assignments in our Department, working in underserved communities and initiating tough conversations that many in upper and lower command refuse to have and address. She has more investigative experience and administrative experience than the two Lieutenants promoted to Captain by Hayden and Edwards. This Lieutenant has also successfully commanded Sex Crimes, Child Abuse & Domestic Violence Division, Park Rangers, Community Engagement and Recruitment, Housing Authority, Metro-Link, and worked in an undercover capacity.

There are currently ten (10) SLMPD Captains – three black males, three white females, four white males – none are black females. SLMPD has had three black female Captains in its 211-year history. Black females make up 6% of SLMPD, with minimal growth to the rank of command and exponentially lower rates to the rank of Captain. Even when black females are qualified or finish in the top tier for promotion to command or upper command, they’re often passed over for less qualified candidates. With the recent failure to promote the most qualified Lieutenant to Captain, Chief Hayden and Public Safety Director Edwards leave 79 current black female Officers to believe they will never be recognized as equal in SLMPD.

We congratulate all recent candidates for promotion who earned their promotions, but we will not let the truth go unacknowledged.”

Ethical Society of Police

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