OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE
Dear Chief Belmar,
Please accept this letter as our formal request that you revisit your interpretation of General Order 17-44 and the decision to remove nine officers from the list of candidates for oral boards in the current promotional process for Sergeant in the St. Louis County Police Department. Contrary to information contained in Lt. Webb’s February 14, 2020, memo, General Order 17-44 does not limit the number of officers eligible for oral boards to three times the number of projected openings at the time the promotional process is announced. Rather, Section V.C. states that “[a]ny candidate who scores in the 70% percentile or higher on the written test will be placed on the list for oral boards.” This means that you were well within policy in naming any of the forty-three officers who scored at least 70% on the written test for a chance to move on in the process.
Any limit on the number of candidates considered based on the number of projected openings should be interpreted as ensuring that at least three officers are considered for every projected vacancy. Indeed, the policy states “at least three (3) candidates must be considered…” The policy does not state “no more than three (3) candidates can be considered…” Therefore, regardless if the number of projected openings increased after the time the promotional process is announced, you are well within your discretion to raise the number of officers submitted for oral boards.
Having gone through the rigors of working, studying, and sitting for the written test administered by the Department, you are well aware of the honor and joy that accompanies seeing your name on the list of officers moving on. At no fault of your own or the officers whose names were removed, we now find our Department at a crossroad. We are respectfully asking you to do the right thing and allow the nine officers to appear before the oral board.
A more detailed analysis of how we arrive at our interpretation of Section V is attached.
Despite exchanges taking place in the media, we remain committed to resolving this issue within the Department. At a minimum, a statement from you regarding the interpretation of the Section V giving guidance for promotional processes in the future will ensure that this name-removal scenario does not happen again.
We await your response.
Respectfully, The Ethical Society of Police
Click HERE to open PDF of the letter to Chief Belmar and analysis of General Order 17-44, Section V. Promotional Process for Sergeants
ABOUT THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE
The Ethical Society of Police (E.S.O.P.) is an association of police officers, park rangers, and civilians that advocates for racial and gender equity in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) and St. Louis County Police Department. The E.S.O.P. was founded in 1972 to address racial biases within law enforcement. The E.S.O.P. also works to improve community/police relations, develop policies and programs to reduce crime, elevate the status of minority civilians and police officers, encourage greater minority employment by law enforcement agencies, and increase professionalism in law enforcement. Membership is open to all races and includes nearly 300 law enforcement professionals employed by the City and County of St. Louis. For details, call (314) 690-3565, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.esopstl.org.