ST. LOUIS, MO – The National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, Inc. (NABLEO), along with twelve other criminal justice organizations from across the nation, have expressed their solidarity with members of the Ethical Society of Police (ESOP) in the call for reforms to address systemic racism and discrimination in the St. Louis County Police Department.
“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,” states NABLEO.
The NABLEO statement comes in response to ESOP’s unanswered December 7th letter to Chief Mary Barton, which outlined ten points of action for the coming year to make SLCPD more equitable for marginalized members of the Department and the community.
“We have failed to receive any formal acknowledgment of the letter from Chief Barton or the Board of Police Commissioners. Chief Barton gave a comment to the news, but has failed to even confirm receipt to us directly much less respond to our concerns with a plan to address racism and increase diversity in the Department. The lack of acknowledgment is indicative of the perpetual marginalization and follows a pattern of inaction that we fear will continue to disenfranchise minority officers and the community,” according to the ESOP Board.
In their statement, NABLEO addresses findings of the December 21st Teneo Risk Advisory report conducted on behalf of St. Louis-area businesses, which confirmed the serious, racially divisive atmosphere in SLCPD. NABLEO also highlights the Department’s pattern of not responding to ongoing concerns raised by ESOP’s St. Louis County Chapter over the last two years and litigation brought by three, high-ranking SLCPD African American officers who claim racially discriminatory practices.
“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,” states NABLEO.
NABLEO is calling for the following actions by SLCPD:
- 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.
The criminal justice organizations that expressed their solidarity with NABLEO and ESOP’s calls for reform are:
- Guardians Association Of The New York State Troopers
- NYPD Guardians Association
- Guardian Civic League, Inc. of Philadelphia
- Newark Bronze Shields
- Black Shield Police Association
- 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)
“What we are asking for and calling out at St. Louis County are not issues that exist within St. Louis County alone. Systemic racism exists in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and within many police departments across the country. By uniting with other organizations that are calling for the same change, we are collectively leading by example to encourage additional officers and departments to speak up. Bringing systemic racism to light is the only path to change,” states the ESOP Board.
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. For more information, visit https://nableo.org
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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