Saying that the department is rife with corruption and has to change, the organization representing African-American police officers says it will use the city’s new whistleblower ordinance to get its review of the St. Louis Police Metropolitan Department before the Civilian Oversight Board.
The review was released last summer.
An emotional Ethical Society of Police president, Sgt. Heather Taylor, says the department has many good officers, black and white, who are having to deal with issues they shouldn’t have to face.
“We have issues with internal corruption, racism, cronyism, you name it,” she says.
Taylor, who had stepped into a back room after being overcome with emotion at the beginning of Tuesday morning’s news conference, says they include efforts by top commanders to curb the truth, including her being disciplined for telling the public that the city’s ShotSpotter was down for a time.
“Things morale-wise are just so bad here that anyone’s up,” Taylor says. “Any officer is up to be the next person to face discipline that’s not justified not matter what race you are or gender you are.”
She says the board is the proper body to look into the situation.
“They have the ability for officers to talk to them, with this whistleblower ordinance, without facing retaliation, or more. Well, they’re probably going to face it still, but at least it will minimize it.”
Taylor says the society will send its letter requesting the probe within a couple of weeks.
In response to the accusations, a police department spokeswoman issued the following statement:
“Chief Dotson takes any and all allegations seriously and is committed to working with the organization to address their concerns. Many of the incidents referenced are active internal investigations that are ongoing. It would be inappropriate to discuss the outcome of those investigations at this time. The Ethical Society of Police has been invited to sit down with Internal Affairs to share any information that would assist with ongoing investigations. Chief Dotson and his command staff is committed to a workplace free from harassment, discrimination or racial disparity and will continue their efforts to foster such an environment. The Ethical Society of Police is invited to sit down with Chief Dotson and his command staff to discuss their concerns.”
CBS St. Louis ©February 2017