ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton is talking openly for the first time Thursday about a vote of “no confidence” against her. The county council approved the vote Tuesday night which is more or less a symbolic move. Barton was clear about her feelings on the council’s resolution.
“I would have hoped that if the council had problems with me, that they put in the resolution, they would have contacted me and talked to me about it before putting it out into the public forum,” Barton said. “I would have hoped it would have been brought forth and reviewed and not issued with the factual inaccuracies that were present in the resolution.”
The resolution criticizes Barton for how she handled accounts of racism in the department along with disciplinary measures.
Barton said most of the department complaints were before she was even chief.
“It’s somebody’s opinion, not a legally binding document,” Barton said. “However, when we give our opinions about people we have to remember thats those opinions outside of fact or discussion are damaging to peoples representations.”
Barton said the department is delivering excellent service and should be commended for navigating the pandemic.
Several employees have been out due to sickness and they worked through a great deal of civil unrest in 2020.
Since Tuesday’s vote, Barton said she has received nothing but support.
“Its all been very postive. ‘Hang in their cheif, you’re doing a good job.’ I have not received, as of this point, any negative comments.
The Board of Police Commissioners appointed Barton.
It’s not likely they will remove her because right now, there is no evidence to do so.
“I will tell you when I was selected for chief, I had hope in moving the department forward to be a more racially equitable police department, to leverage technology and crime-fighting, and to begin mentorship of people in the police department. And I have succeeded in quite a few of those things,” Barton said.
Barton also said she hopes she has changed County Executive Dr. Sam Page’s opinion of her in the last year. He previously said he didn’t support her hiring, but hasn’t given FOX2 a comment since the county resolution.
“If I had let every negative comment that I have heard about myself, over the years some of which only because im a female affect me, I would not be sitting here today,” Barton said. “I have surived a lot in the police department and I will continue to survive because I believe when you act ethically and with integrity thats all you need.”
Barton said it’s time for her to stop defending the job and spend more time doing her job. She will move forward continuing to work with the council, Dr. Page, and the Police Board of Commissioners.