Moving Ferguson Forward
Agreement with the Department of Justice
The terms and conditions of the agreement include the following:
Within 180 days of the Effective Date, the City will begin to host and participate in a series of small-group structured dialogues, arranged and led by a qualified neutral facilitator, between police officers and community members and groups, with an emphasis on community members and groups who previously have not had strong or positive relationships with FPD or the City.
REFORM OF THE FERGUSON MUNICIPAL CODE:
To ensure constitutional enforcement of the Ferguson Municipal Code (“Code”) and further promote community-oriented policing, the City agrees to revise the Code and ensure that it comports with the United States Constitution and other laws; establishes clearly defined municipal offenses and appropriate penalties for violations; and adequately protects the public
health, safety, and welfare.
POLICIES AND TRAINING:
To ensure that officers have the knowledge, skills, and direction necessary to police constitutionally, effectively, and in a manner that promotes both officer and public safety, the City agrees to continue to enhance its policies and increase the quality and scope of training provided to FPD officers and other FPD employees.
BIAS-FREE POLICE AND COURT PRACTICES:
This Agreement, in its entirety, will be implemented in a manner that ensures equal protection of the law for all individuals, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected characteristics.
VOLUNTARY CONTACTS, STOPS, SEARCHES, CITATIONS, AND ARRESTS:
The City agrees to ensure that all FPD voluntary encounters, investigatory stops and detentions, searches, citations, and arrests are conducted in accordance with the rights, privileges, and immunities secured or protected by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
FIRST AMENDMENT PROTECTED ACTIVITY:
The parties acknowledge that First Amendment protected activities serve important societal functions, including promoting transparency in government affairs, ensuring accountability of public officials, and encouraging community feedback—whether critical or laudatory—that ultimately reduce tension and foster a sense of openness and trust between law enforcement and
The agreement outlines several procedures that dictate when force may be used and for required reporting, oversight and investigation.
The Police Department will implement a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention with community, health care, and advocacy partnerships to: (a) assist individuals who are in mental health crisis or who are in crisis related to the influence of alcohol or drugs (“individuals in crisis”); (b) reduce the need to use significant force against
individuals in crisis and improve the safety of patrol officers, individuals in crisis and their families, and others within the community; (c) provide the foundation necessary to promote community solutions to assist individuals with mental illness; and (d) reduce the need for individuals with mental illness to have further involvement with the criminal justice system.
SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER PROGRAM:
Additional policies and procedures are incorporated into the Department’s School Resource Officer Program.
BODY-WORN AND IN-CAR CAMERAS:
In an effort to bring continued transparency regarding police activities; improve the effectiveness and reliability of use-of-force and misconduct investigations; enhance supervision of FPD stops, searches, and arrests; and provide material for officer training, the City will equip FPD officers with body-worn and in-car cameras, and will ensure that such devices are used consistent with law and policy.
Additional requirements apply to supervisors within the police department to ensure that the terms of the agreement are carried out.
OFFICER ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT:
The City will provide certain services and assistance to police officers to ensure the officers’ physical and mental well-being.
The City will conduct a broader outreach in attempts to recruit a highly-qualified diverse workforce and will offer one scholarship per year for a candidate to attend the St. Louis County Police Academy.
PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS AND PROMOTIONS:
The City agrees to ensure its policies for performance evaluations and promotions support and recognize officers who police effectively, lawfully, and ethically.
SUPPLEMENTAL RECRUIT AND IN-SERVICE TRAINING:
To ensure that officers have the knowledge and skills to police constitutionally
and carry out the requirements of this Agreement, the City agrees to provide and require training which far exceeds the State’s training requirements.
MUNICIPAL COURT REFORM:
The City will adopt, as part of its Municipal Code, procedures applicable to the jail and the Municipal Court and will make certain recommendations to the Municipal Judge.
The City agrees to certain principles of accountability and agrees to a more-detailed complaint process.
To promote transparent and community-centered law enforcement, the City agrees to continue and expand its commitment to establishing meaningful civilian oversight of the police department, primarily through a Civilian Review Board.
DATA COLLECTION, REPORTING, AND TRANSPARENCY:
The City agrees to ensure the collection and tracking of all police and municipal court data that is: (a) necessary to enable the City’s ongoing assessment and improvement of its law enforcement practices, as discussed throughout the Agreement; (b) necessary to enable the Monitor to conduct the outcome assessments; and (c) otherwise required by the Agreement, policy, and applicable law.
MONITORING, COMPLIANCE ASSESSMENT, AND ENFORCEMENT:
The Parties will jointly select an Independent Monitor (“Monitor”), which will be a team of individuals highly qualified in policing, civil rights, monitoring, and related areas, to assess and report on whether the requirements of the Agreement have been implemented, and whether this implementation is resulting in constitutional and otherwise lawful policing and administration of justice, and increased community trust between the public and the Ferguson Police Department and Court. The Monitor will work with the Parties to identify and address any barriers to compliance.
You can find the full text of the agreement, the Ordinances that were passed, and other related documents in the links below.
NEGOTIATED FERGUSON CONSENT DECREE
AGREEMENT REGARDING MONITORING COSTS
COST ESTIMATES RELATED TO CONSENT DECREE
PROPOSED CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARD ORDINANCE - MARCH 2016- BILL 7110
Mayor and City Council Goals and Progress
1. Improve Relations Between Police Department and Residents.
2. Improve Municipal Court Operations.
3. Commitment to West Florissant Avenue.
4. Engage Residents in Dialogue to Improve and Strengthen the Community.
- Establishment of a Citizen Review Board. City representatives met with representatives from the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) to discuss the establishment of a Citizen Review Board for the City of Ferguson. The Mayor made civilian appointments to the Task Force in early November. The composition of the Task Force is diverse and includes clergy, residents, business owners, police, and administration. The Task Force will explore civilian oversight and make recommendations to the Mayor who will communicate these recommendations to the City Council. The City will then draft an Ordinance for Council consideration to formally establish a Citizen Review Board for the City of Ferguson. The Citizen Review Board has met a number of times since its inception in October and is continuing to develop its recommendation to the mayor for consideration by the City Council. For updates on the progress, please visit http://www.fergusoncity.com/544/Citizen-Review-Board
- Implementation of Body and Dash Cameras. In early September, the City received donations of body cameras and the necessary server from Digital Ally and Safety Vision. The City was awarded a grant to purchase 3 dash cameras. An additional dash camera was donated by Safety Vision. The installation of those cameras was completed in early September. In an effort to have full transparency moving forward in this community it was important to start this program immediately. The City of Ferguson was one of the first in the region to implement body cameras for police officers.
- Recruitment of Police Officers. The Mayor and City Council have increased the residency incentive for police officers in the City from $100 to $300. Having police officers reside in the City of Ferguson helps ensure officers are invested in the community. The Mayor and City Council have established a scholarship to recruit diverse candidates to attend the police academy. The scholarship would be repaid by an employment commitment to the City of Ferguson for 3 years after completion of the academy.
- Commitment to Improve Relations between Police and Youth. The Police Chief has committed to working with the Ferguson-Florissant School District to establish a Police Explorer program for students in the district. In the Police Explorer program, young adults with an interest in law enforcement would learn more about the career path and would be challenged to become responsible citizens of the community and the nation. The first recruiting session for the new Police Explorer Post in the City of Ferguson took place in early February at McCluer-South Berkeley High School. An open-house will be held at a later date to meet with those students who expressed interest at the initial recruiting session. The Mayor and City Council have also committed to expand and enhance the School Resource Officer program. The Ferguson Fire Department has also begun the creation of an Explorer post to introduce young adults to a career in firefighting. The Explorer Fire Program kicked off with an open house at the Ferguson Firehouse 1 on February 19, 2015.
- Support of State Legislation Enacting Policies Applicable to All Departments. The Mayor and City Council passed two Resolutions supporting State legislation to set rules that all law enforcement agencies should follow related to officer-involved shootings and the use of deadly force. Resolution 2014-34 reflects the City Council’s support for efforts in the Missouri General Assembly to enact legislation, which would establish a clear process for investigation of and response to cases involving a law enforcement officer’s use of deadly force, which would be applicable to all law enforcement agencies within the State. It is hoped that the legislation, at a minimum, includes detailed procedures relating to an investigation to determine if the use of force was proper and in accordance with applicable regulations and policy; and requirements for the release of information to the public and time lines and methods for the release of such information. Resolution 2014-35 voices the City Council’s support for efforts in the Missouri General Assembly to enact legislation which would require every law enforcement agency within the State to report, annually, the number and circumstances of uses of force resulting in death.
2. Improve Municipal Court Operations.
- The City of Ferguson was the first in the region to implement broad court reforms. The actions taken in Ferguson will be modeled by courts in other areas of the region.
- Abolish Unnecessary Administrative Fees related to Police and Court Operations. Bill 7059 and Bill 7060, both passed on September 23, 2014, established unnecessary administrative fees in both municipal court and police operations. Bill 7059 abolished the administrative fee which was imposed to reimburse the city for its costs in arranging for the towing of vehicles. The city will now absorb those costs. Bill 7060 abolished certain fees associated with municipal court such as fees for witnesses, continuances, bench and arrest warrants, and court service costs.
- Set Limit on Municipal Court Revenue. Bill 7061 limited the amount of municipal court revenue that the City will use as part of its general budget. The Bill limited the amount of revenue to 15% of the City’s total revenue, which is half of the State-mandated revenue limitation of 30%. The City’s budget currently reflects expected court revenues of 12%. The City has already taken action to abolish fees associated with municipal court cases which will reduce revenue. Revenue will be further reduced by giving the judge greater flexibility for alternative sentencing such as community service.
- Repeal Separate Failure to Appear Offense in Municipal Court. Bill 7062 repealed the separate offense in the Municipal Code of Failure to Appear in municipal court.
- Establishment of a Payment Docket. At the urging of the City Council, the Municipal Judge has signed an Order establishing a special docket for defendants who are having trouble making monthly payments on outstanding fines. Sometimes, financial circumstances change and although a defendant may have agreed to a particular payment plan when the case was first resolved, that person may now have trouble making those payments. This docket will allow those defendants another opportunity to speak to the judge and/or prosecutor about his or her financial circumstances and the possibility of modifying the payment plan or seeking alternative sentencing.
- Warrant Recall Program. At the request of the City Council, the Municipal Judge signed an Order establishing a warrant recall program which ran from September 15, 2014, through October 15, 2014. All defendants with outstanding warrants were urged to contact the Municipal Court Clerk to obtain information about having the existing warrant recalled.
3. Commitment to West Florissant Avenue.
- Funding West Florissant Avenue Corridor Project. The City of Ferguson, in cooperation with the City of Dellwood and St. Louis County, and East-West Gateway Council of Governments recently completed a Great Streets project focused on the development of a master plan for the West Florissant Corridor. The West Florissant Corridor Master Plan would improve the streetscape, provide bike and pedestrian amenities, and improve use of the corridor for all modes of transportation. The City is currently in the process of exploring funding mechanisms to begin implementation of the plan.
- Support of Business Owners on West Florissant. City staff has been working closely with the business owners along West Florissant to connect them with resources. Some of those resources include the Reinvest North County Fund is administered by North County Inc., The Small Business Relief Program administered by the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, and the Small Business Administration Disaster Loan program for businesses feeling economic injury in any surrounding county. City staff will continue to support with these small business owners as they establish a West Florissant Business Association.
4. Engage Residents in Dialogue to Improve and Strengthen the Community.
- Town Hall Meetings. The Mayor and City Council, along with the Department of Justice- Community Relations Service, hosted a series of moderated conversations with the residents of the City of Ferguson. The topics of conversation included clearing up misconceptions about the City of Ferguson, communication to/from Ferguson leadership, diversity and racial tension, and developing a plan to move the community forward. The City will use the feedback from those conversations to develop a plan of action related to three main areas- police and community relations, youth, and quality of life.
- September 22, 2014 - Addressing Misconceptions about the City of Ferguson
- September 30, 2014 - Addressing Communication to/from Ferguson Leadership
- October 7, 2014 - Addressing Diversity and Racial Tension
- October 21, 2014 - A Roadmap for Growth: Where do we go from here?
- November 4, 2014 - Opportunities for Youth/Civic Engagement
- May 7, 2015 - Information and Updates Handout Summary of Meeting
- May 13, 2015 - Courts and Court Reform Handout
- May 28, 2015 - Community-Oriented Policing Handout 1 Handout 2
- Comment Cards. The City of Ferguson mailed comment cards to every household in the City in early September. Over 600 comment cards were received. The feedback from the comment cards has been used throughout this process and will continue to be reviewed as action plans are developed.
- Participation in the My Brother's Keeper Initiative. The City of Ferguson accepted the call-to-action from President Barack Obama to join the My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge. The My Brother's Keeper Community Challenge seeks to build and execute comprehensive strategies that ensure:
- All children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally prepared;
- All children read at grade level by third grade;
- All young people graduate from high school;
- All young people complete post-secondary education or training;
- All youth out of school are employed; and
- All young people are safe from violent crime.
The City of Ferguson hosted a Local Action Summit on Saturday, November 15 to assess needs, determine priorities, and decide what combination of the objectives will be addressed within Ferguson. The group identified the three goals the City would focus on. The three goals identified were:
- All children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally prepared.
- All young people complete post-secondary education and training.
- All young people are safe from violent crime.
The first working group met on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. The group ultimately decided to break out into three separate working groups based on the three chosen goals. Each group was tasked with reviewing and discussing the recommendations that were given at the initial Local Action Summit held in November and gathering information about available resources. The small working groups met over the course of several weeks to choose a specific area of focus and begin to develop an action plan. On December 16, 2014 the small working groups presented their goals to the group. Feedback was reviewed and the final action plans were presented at the final meeting on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.
City staff reviewed the draft action plan that was presented to the City Council and recommended the Council adopt a final action plan to address two of the My Brother’s Keeper goals:
• All children enter school cognitively, physically, socially, and emotionally prepared.
• All young people are safe from violent crime.
The staff recommendation to address the two goals was based on the low cost of implementation and the ability to utilize existing models which include clear tracking measures. Staff also recommended continuing to work on the goal of “All young people complete post-secondary education and training” by looking at further resources and models that may be available to assist with implementation of those recommendations at a later date.
The City Council formally adopted the Ferguson My Brother’s Keeper Action Plan by Resolution 2015-07 on March 24, 2015. A committee of volunteers and City staff will be formed to assist the City with implementation of the adopted plan.
- Apartment Outreach. The Ferguson Parks and Recreation Department developed a program marketing the Ferguson Community Center and all that it offers to those residents who reside in apartment complexes in the City of Ferguson. Not only intended to market the Community Center, the program also worked to build stronger relationships with residents. Residents were able to get a free resident identification card, a $5 value, and a three-month trial membership. Transportation to and from the Community Center from the apartment complexes was also available.
5. Partnerships Built
- Lindenwood. The Pinnacle Entertainment Foundation donated $25,000 to the Hammond Institute's Duree Center for Entrepreneurship. The $25,000 will be used to provide up to one hundred scholarships that will be given to City residents to participate in the Ameristar “Who Owns the Ice House?” Entrepreneurship Program. Lindenwood students are also serving as interns in various departments in the City of Ferguson. For those who would like to participate in a summer internship, the University has agreed to waive summer tuition. Lindenwood University’s School of Communications has also arranged for their classes to work with the Ferguson media relations department to create free media content for the City of Ferguson. Lindenwood students are also filming short documentaries, volunteering, and encouraging people to visit Ferguson to dine and shop through campaigns on Twitter and Facebook. Lindenwood is also establishing a new scholarship program for those students who live in North St. Louis County and attend the identified school districts.
- Rebuilding Together. The City of Ferguson is working with Rebuilding Together to provide free home repairs to low-income, elderly, or disabled residents. The first build day was completed on May 2, 2015.
- YouthBuild.The Mayor and City staff is working with YouthBuild to identify properties for redevelopment. The program works with low-income eighteen to twenty-four year olds to rebuild and repair the identified properties while completing their GED and receiving an introductory training in the building trades. To date, YouthBuild has undertaken rehabiilitation of one property and the conversion of another to a community garden.