OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE
Mary Barton has dedicated 40 years of her life to public service in one of the most noble and challenging professions there is. As the first female St. Louis County Police Chief, she is undoubtedly a trailblazer and a source of inspiration for others with similar career aspirations. For that, she should be commended. Yet, she should not receive an automatic payout when she has allowed a culture to exist that discriminated against several protected classes.
The news of her resignation is not surprising. As Chief, her tenure has been plagued by leadership failures to say the least. Therefore, we believe it was in the best interest of the department and citizens of St. Louis County that she steps down. County Executive Sam Page and the Board of Police Commissioners have an opportunity to select the best qualified candidate who has widespread support from a broad demographic spectrum within the region.
The culture of discrimination within the St. Louis County Police Department extends beyond Chief Barton. In fact, the individual named as acting deputy chief is at the center of discrimination lawsuits. A thorough process for selecting the next Chief, including input by organizations such as the Ethical Society of Police, is critical to ensure new leadership is ready on day one to address complex issues, including racism, that are pervasive in the Department.
We believe there are several well respected and capable candidates to choose from as a replacement. We are encouraged by the potential for St. Louis County to continue to break down existing professional barriers with the selection of a chief capable of mending fractured relationships between the department and the community it serves.
ABOUT THE ETHICAL SOCIETY OF POLICE
The Ethical Society of Police (ESOP) is an association of police officers, park rangers, and civilians that advocates for racial and gender equity in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and St. Louis County Police Department. ESOP was founded in 1972 to address racial biases within law enforcement. ESOP 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 more than 370 law enforcement professionals employed by the City and County of St. Louis. ESOP membership is approximately 97% African American, but membership is open to all races, religions and sexual orientations. For details, call (314) 690-3565, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.esopstl.org.
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