STL County Police reprimand officers after allegations of misconduct

The St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Professional Standards completed on Friday its 16-week investigation into allegations of officer misconduct, regarding several county officers.

According to a statement issued by the St. Louis County Police Department, the majority of those weeks, approximately 12, were spent in an effort to obtain the requested information needed to conduct a thorough investigation.

In total, 10 allegations were brought to the Police Department’s attention with six of the 10 allegations of misconduct being unfounded . The other four resulted in disciplinary action, the statement said.

County Police Chief Jon Belmar ordered the internal investigation be conducted, according to the statement.

“I initiated this internal investigation because the officers of the St. Louis County Police Department are, and should be, held to a very high standard. This Department has never shied away from discipline when appropriate.” Chief Belmar said in a statement. “I appreciate the work of the investigators assigned to the Bureau of Professional Standards who were able to identify appropriate discipline and provide context for those cases determined to be unfounded. Officers assigned to the Metrolink Unit remain committed to ensure the safety and security of those that ride the light rail system.”

On Dec. 15, 2015, an allegation was made stating an officer was sleeping on duty and covered up the Metro camera located within the North Hanley security office, a facility used by officers to hold briefings, conduct investigations and use as a break room. The involved officer admitted to covering the camera in order to put on his ballistic vest and forgot to remove the paper from the camera when finished, the report said. The officer was given a written reprimand.

Another allegation made on Feb. 17, 2016, said officers were loitering around the Clayton Metro security office and an officer was at the Clayton Metro security office when he informed dispatch that he was present at the Maplewood station platform.

The investigation found officers were spending more time than acceptable in the Clayton Metro security office, which resulted in a written reprimand to the two officers involved.

Detectives said they could not locate any audio recordings tying the officer that informed dispatch he was present at the Maplewood station platform from Metro’s Dispatch Center to confirm the allegation. The report also state the officer was not captured on video at the Clayton Metro security office.

There were, however, three officers present on the Maplewood station platform during this time, just not the officer accused.

Another incident in Clayton involving a retired journalist accusing four Clayton Metro security officers not doing anything was deemed unfounded after investigators attempted to contact the retired journalist, but were unsuccessful.

On June 5, 2017, the source told St. Louis County Police he found the officers sitting in the dark around 6:20 p.m. at the Clayton Metro security office not doing anything.

The officers statement said the journalist was accusatory and rude, while indicating they were eating dinner when he quickly entered the private office. Officers stated they turn the lights off often for safety reasons.

Two other officers were accused of conducting personal business at Mid America Arms while on duty and out of their assigned sectors on Nov. 15 2016, but investigator’s have cleared them of any wrongdoing.

The accusation stated that it took over 30 minutes for officers to respond and transport a prisoner from the Richmond Heights Metro station. According to the report, investigators found that the two officers were present at Mid America Arms with supervisor approval.

They stated they were there to purchase raffle tickets for a benefit for fallen Officer Blake Snyder. The store was near a Metro property and officers were there for a short amount of time. Raffle tickets that were purchased were verified at the store. The allegation of taking 30 minutes to arrive at the Richmond Heights Metro Station contradicts Metro’s own records that show officers responded and transported the prisoner to intake within 22 minutes.

The final allegation made on July 4  said that an officer covered up a camera located within the North Hanley Metro security office and officers were loitering while two calls for service were pending and not handled.

According to Metro, this complaint was initiated by an unidentified Federal Air Marshall’s Service  officer that was assigned to the Metrolink during 4th of July festivities. The officer initially complained that officers were not patrolling the transit system, but later denied making or filing any complaint.

While information from Metro’s records was contradictory to investigators’ findings, six officers received written reprimands for loitering in the office.

Two other officers involved in separate incidents admitted to covering up security cameras for privacy reasons at the North Hanley Metro station.

The incidents took place on Feb. 9, June 25 . Both officers received written reprimands.

“The Board was presented the findings and circumstances of the investigation conducted by the Bureau of Professional Standards,” Chairman of the Board of Police Commissioners, Roland Corvington, said. “The Board found the internal investigation to be thorough and conducted to logical conclusion.”

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