CLAYTON, MO – Police reform, defunding the police, and police oversight have all arise as protests continue across the country.
Now questions are coming up if what happening here in the county is for political gain or progress.
“We believe the time is now, we believe the time is ripe,” county exec. Sam Page said.
That’s Page thoughts as it deals with St. Louis County Police and reviewing the practices and procedures the department follows.
“We need to recognize when we fall short and we need to have the humility and the urgency to do something about it,” he said.
That’s why Page says the county is partnering with the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis to launch a review of the county police department.
Urban League’s President Michael McMillian calls it an incredible opportunity to improve policing and protect civil rights, while Page says.
“We’ve known of challenges in law enforcement for a while and we recognized that,” Page said. “We’re lucky to have a great police department in St. Louis County and they have a good reputation, but we know we can always do better, and we believe this is a time for review.”
The review will be held by two out of state former police chiefs, Chief Charles Ramsey and Chief Daniel Oates with Lt. Col Troy Doyle with county police being at the head coordinator.
The two-person team will analyze the use of force training and practice, review de-escalation, and implicit bias training.
Page says Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, the chairman of the board of police commissioners and Police Chief Mary Barton all support him on the move.
When Fox 2 reached out to Matt Crecelius with the St. Louis County Police Union, he questioned the county exec’s authority to enact such a review but had this to say if the police commissioners were on board.
“We welcome it,” the business manager said. “We’ve been through numerous reviews over the last 4 to 5 years and they all have the same conclusion that our officers do a great job every day protecting the citizens of St. Louis County.”
The business manager of the police union says though officers aren’t concerned with such a review, they find it ironic the county exec is deciding to do this just weeks before voters head to the polls.
When Fox 2 asked Page if this move is just a political play, this was his response.
“We don’t stop governing during an election,” Page said. “We continue to do what we need to do to take care of the community, to save lives, to look out for the health and welfare of our community.”
This review will be privately funded through the Regional Business Council and Civic Progress companies.
Also, in a move forward for the Ethical Society of Police, the board of commissioners signed an agreement officially recognizing the police union.