Specialized unit could come to St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

7:07 PM, Nov 21, 2012   |    comments
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By Talia Kaplan

St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - This year, NewsChannel 5 has covered a record number of officer-involved shootings in St. Louis.

On Wednesday, NewsChannel 5 learned the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department may create a special unit to investigate these types of shootings.

Figures show that the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has on average 25 officer involved shootings a year. It's a substantial number that requires thorough investigations.

Until now, the department would send detectives from their homicide unit to investigate.

The police department hired Professor David Klinger with University of Missouri St. Louis' Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice to conduct a review of all police officer involved shootings for the past four years.

He thinks creating a unit dedicated to these kinds of investigations would benefit the department.

Chief Dan Isom confirmed the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is considering Dr. Klinger's recommendation.

"When citizens know that the agency is on top of things in making sure that the police officers are behaving correctly, they can relax, they can know that their police department is doing the right thing as their police department goes out and deals with these bad people who need to be taken into custody," said Dr. Klinger.

"When we fire our weapon at someone it's one of the most serious things that an officer can do. I think trying to improve as much as you can on the investigation and the reporting of that is good for the officers, is good for the community, is good for the police department," said Chief Isom.

Cities like Los Angeles and Austin already have specialized units like this and they are proving to be successful.

Dr. Klinger will present the report to the Board of Commissioners early next year and they will decide if they will move forward.


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