Policing Study Group
Policing Study Group
The League of Women Voters of Metro St. Louis supports programs and actions that seek to eliminate the use of excessive force by police against citizens. Toward that end we call for:
- · the adoption and enforcement of local laws and police policies that have been shown to decrease police use of excessive force in other cities.
- · the creation of sustainable, empowered, independent citizen oversight boards for all police departments.
The LWVSTL Policing Study Group is studying whether or not Citizen Oversight Boards are an effective tool to decrease racism and the use of excessive force in St. Louis area policing.
This month we made a list of all the police departments within the area covered by the LWVSTL. This area includes St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, Lincoln County, Franklin County, Jefferson County and Warren County.
We also continued assembling a list of foundational documents/resources on policing, citizen oversight, racism and excessive force, to further educate ourselves.
Please email the committee chair, Mary Leopold with questions, suggestions, comments, requests for documents, or to get the link for our next Zoom meeting, Friday, December 4th, 3:00-4:30pm. All are welcome.
In our last offering for the annual report, we mentioned that the word “policing” relates to many social justice issues. This year the policing study group came to a decision to focus on racism and use of excessive force in St. Louis area policing. Further, we decided to investigate whether a robust Citizen Oversight Board is an effective tool for decreasing racism and the use of excessive force.
We have written several documents along our journey to choosing this focus. These include a five-point policing vision statement, and a document describing the set of desired outcomes and recommended action items for each of the five points. It is from these documents that we then chose our focus
This year our group began working through the “10 Steps to a League of Women Voters Study.” We have completed steps 1 - 3. This work resulted in our choice of a Focus (Citizen Review/Oversight Boards) and a Scope (A study of whether or not Citizen Review/Oversight Boards are effective in creating and maintaining healthy relationships between citizenry and law enforcement through reduction of bias and the use of excessive force.)
In the coming year, the study group plans to complete the “10 Steps,” resulting in a new, local LWV position statement on policing.
We will also Identify national and local advocacy groups to collaborate with in forming effective Citizen Review/Oversight Boards.
It remains true that there is no national LWV position on policing. However, our work towards a local position, that only impacts the St. Louis area, is firmly in line with national LWV other social policy positions, as described in the “2018-2020 Impact on the Issues: A Guide to Public Policy Positions.”
—Policing Study Group (Chair Mary Leopold, Carol Prombo, Louisa Lyles, Donald Jeffries, Nancy Hirsch, Claire Stolz, Susan Taylor, and Jan Scott)