More than one year after the Department of Justice commissioned a report examining the St. Louis County Police Department’s (SLCPD) response to the protests in Ferguson, the probe is complete, and investigators fault the officers for escalating tensions.
The 182-page report, which officials released today, examined the tactics used in the 90 departments that make up the municipality. It found that lacking communication between supervisors and their officers has created inconsistent policing and biases, particularly among smaller departments.
“This interdependent yet fragmented approach to policing in the area creates challenges for the SLCPD in building trusting relationships with the community,” the report said.
SLCPD police chief Jon Belmar asked the DOJ to conduct the investigation after he suspected that police officers’ actions were fraying the trust among community members.
“While particularly proficient in the area of tactical operations, the department lacks the training, leadership and culture necessary to truly engender community policing and to build and sustain trusting relationships with the community,” the report said.
Additionally, the report made similar findings to the DOJ’s report that was released earlier this year, that found that officer frequently targeted Black residents and used ticketing to generate city revenue.
Belmar hasn’t announced whether the department will use the most recent findings as a launching pad for reform. The report recommended that department officials monitor its officers more closely.