A statement from the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association noted Better Together’s proposal was based on a report published in April 2015 by the Police Executive Research Forum, a national membership organization of police executives primarily from the largest city, county and state law enforcement agencies in the United States.
PERF said it had “never before encountered” the degree of fragmentation it found in greater St. Louis, a problem which caused “uneven delivery of police services to area residents.”
But the police chiefs said things are different today. Since the PERF report, the statement said, “law enforcement in St. Louis learned some valuable lessons.”
“The most important lesson was that there needed to be community policing with a true connection to the people in the community,” the chiefs’ statement said. “That can only be established with a continuity of contact and service that allows better understanding for and from everyone involved.”
The chiefs said their organization was “reborn from the lessons of Ferguson.” Five years ago, about a quarter of their agencies were accredited or in the process of seeking accreditation. Now it’s 90 percent.