Last week’s shooting of five police officers in Dallas has prompted St. Louis police to work in pairs and wear protective vests during response calls. Several other officer-involved shootings have occurred nationwide since last week, including one in the St. Louis suburb of Ballwin. Jeff Roorda with the St. Louis Police Officers Association says St. Louis police are following those policies until further notice.
Roorda says elected officials’ support for law enforcement is “a mile wide and an inch deep”. He thinks it’s time for that support to get deeper.
“I think it’s time for politicians to put their money where their mouth is. Not only does this keep police officers safer, not only does it make them perform their job better, two heads are better than sort kind of thing. It might be controversial to say but it’s quite possible that Michael Brown might still be alive today if Darren Wilson had a second officer in the car,” said Roorda. “Brown would have been much less likely to have assaulted officer Wilson. I think that an officer in the passenger seat would have been able to intervene in a way that Darren wasn’t because of the proximity between him and Brown.”
Nimrod Chapel, Jr. with the Missouri NAACP wants Missouri’s law enforcement to wear body cameras while on duty.
“We were on the hills of Ferguson where there was international outrage sparked at what happened to Mike Brown. That still wasn’t enough for our legislature to pass legislation that just called for the most basic of protections,” said Chapel. “If they can look at not only individual stories that we’re seeing played out in Louisiana and Minnesota. If we can look at data collected across the state through state statute that’s verified. To look at those pieces of information and not make better determinations about how we regulate ourselves is just asking for trouble.”
Police body camera legislation has been offered in the Missouri legislature since Brown was killed, but none of the proposals have passed.