ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – The Justice Department says the St. Louis County Police Department will be included in an investigation into Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson. US Attorney General Eric Holder said Chief Belmar has voluntarily asked to be included in the review during a press conference Thursday in Washington DC.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar says he invited the U.S. Department of Justice to work with his department to determine if policies and procedures could be improved.
“They`re going to take a look with technical experts in the field. They`re going to validate the policies, procedures, training, protocol and operations that we conduct,” said Belmar.
Through a press release, the St. Louis County Police Department said the D.O.J. would help in the areas of training, bias free policing, stops and searches and responses to civil disturbances.
The chief called the review a, ‘collaborative reform.’ He said his invitation for the D.O.J. to get involved is different from the mandated review of the Ferguson Police Department.
Clayton based defense attorney Scott Rosenblum says there are a range of options the U.S. Department of Justice can take when investigating a police department.
“If they believe there is a department that is engaged in ongoing violations of individual civil liberties and civil rights, I would think they could shut that department down,” said Rosenblum.
He said proving civil rights violations can be difficult. Rosenblum said ultimately civil rights violation cases can come down to the credibility of witnesses.
Belmar believes his department is one of the best in the country.
“When you take a look at the amount of calls that we answer, either the 911 center or in a car going to places, and we balance it against complaints, it`s staggering how low of a number that it is,” said Belmar.
Belmar predicted the review would take anywhere from one year to 18 months.
Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014. The shooting sparked protests which turned into looting. An investigation into the shooting has been opened by multiple agencies on the local and federal level.