Dated: Monday January 11, 2021
With an apparent history of blatant discriminatory acts towards not only people of color in the communities they serve, but officers of color in their own agencies, it is no wonder that the results of the recent Teneo Risk Advisory reports related to the practices of both the St. Louis City Police Department and St. Louis County Police Department have created both community outrage and agency dishevelment. Cap this with the fact that three high ranking African American officers on the St. Louis County Police Department have filed litigation claiming racially discriminatory practices, one must now wonder about the attitude and perception that agency administrators, command and supervisory staff have towards the citizens of color whom they have allegedly sworn to “Protect and Serve,” as they seem to have little or no positive attitudes or perceptions of the officers of color whom they employ.
According to the published reports, the county agency is plagued by a serious racially divisive atmosphere, one which top administrators of the agency have so far failed to address, even though ample warnings of pending difficulties have been presented for more than two years prior to the assessments recently conducted by the Teneo group.
This lack of action can only be viewed as active, systemic racism and deliberate indifference to the plights of the counties communities of color, of which the African American community makes up 25%, and appears to be a problem that has been nurtured by a total and complete lack of administrative action, a continuing failure to adequately address issues specific to Black members of the Department and community, and has resulted in rampant episodes of racism throughout the agency, with these attitudes having festered both individually and collectively for several years. Further, what appears to be obvious administrative indifference to resolving an independently identified racially biased atmosphere indicates that any expressed initiatives towards community policing or stated commitments to agency diversity may be nothing more than “public speak” and have little or no true substance.
As a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve, we find it to be abhorrent and unfortunate that the administration of the St. Louis County Police Department has chosen to disregard the repeatedly reported concerns of systemic racism in the St. Louis County Police Department and specific discriminatory acts directed toward African American police officers employed by the agency.
As a result, the Board of Directors and General Membership of the National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc., along with other criminal justice practitioners of color from across the nation, express their support and solidarity with the officers and members of the Ethical Society of Police-St. Louis County Chapter. Recognizing that the Teneo Risk Advisory review validates many of the concerns raised by the Ethical Society of Police about the St. Louis County Police Department for the past two years, we seek the following changes:
- A complete revision of the agency’s recruitment, hiring, promotional, and transfer policies which have been identified in the Teneo report as being unfair, biased, and overly subjective
- The immediate creation of the Teneo proposed advisory council of faith, business, education, and civil rights leaders with a specific mandate to address racial inequities that impact not only officers of color but the communities of color that are served by the agency
- An immediate review and critical update of the agency’s use of force policies
- An immediate review and comprehensive, critical update of the agency’s policies governing the investigation of misconduct complaints, insuring stronger accountability, fairness and transparency in the investigation of these issues
- Specific policy language mandating that officers recognize and act upon a duty to intervene to prevent or stop any person, to include other law enforcement personnel, from conducting any act that is unethical, or that violates law or policy, or when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required to gain compliance
- A formal condemnation of racial profiling, police brutality and police use of excessive force in all of its forms, and demand that police administrators avidly investigate all complaints of these actions brought to their attention, and immediately terminate all persons whose conduct is found to be egregious or of a problematic pattern, as their continued presence in the community is detrimental to both the professional and personal well-being of members of the law enforcement profession, and brings shame upon both their profession and the community they serve.
- Increased hiring, promotion, and retention of officers of color. African American law enforcement personnel have served throughout the country for more than two centuries and have played a pivotal role in creating positive and meaningful bonds and relationships between police and the communities they serve. This should include the hiring of more community-based candidates as their presence has a significant impact on enhanced concepts of police legitimacy, improved interaction, and a defined investment with the communities of color that they serve.
All eyes are starting to take notice of the racially-biased incidents taking place both within the St. Louis County Police Department and in St. Louis County communities of color. The response of agency administrators, command staff and supervisory personnel will define their leadership, or lack thereof. We are now watching.
National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. (NABLEO)
Ethical Society of Police
Guardians Association Of The New York State Troopers
NYPD Guardians Association
Guardian Civic League, Inc. of Philadelphia
Newark Bronze Shields
Black Shield Police Association (Cleveland, OH)
Afro American Police Officers League
Black Law Enforcement Alliance
National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice
Blacks in Law Enforcement of America (BLEA)
National Black Police Association
Congress Against Racism and Corruption in Law Enforcement (CARCLE)
Blacks in Government (BIG) (Region XI Heritage Chapter
The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc, a 501.(c).(3) non-profit, is a premier national organization representing the interests and concerns of African American, Latino and other criminal justice practitioners of color serving in law enforcement, corrections, and investigative agencies throughout the United States, and the communities in which they serve.
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