From The Mayor's Desk
Messages From the Mayor
It has been a year and I am still excited about serving the residents of Ferguson. With all of the community’s challenges, there is not a better community to live, work and play in. Below are highlights for my first year as Mayor.
Community Policing: The Wave of Hear and Now
“We need to support our police officers and make sure that community policing becomes something that becomes the standard across the country.”
- Chris Christie
As we look back over the 5 years during which we began compliance with the Consent Decree, Community Policing has become the current wave for all municipalities. The Feguson Police Department (FPD) had to examine itself and determine what would work best for the community, while simultaneously exemplifying their mission statement which states, “Our Mission is to do our part in creating a thriving community where the residents, businesses and visitors feel safe, welcomed and appreciated for their contribution to this community. We will be intentional in building strong community relationships and partnerships through professionalism, honorable service, and integrity. We will be committed to removing the criminal element through community engagement, strong leadership, relentless investigation, intelligent enforcement, and intense follow-through.”
Let us unpack this statement for all who are citizens, stakeholders in this community. This mission statement depicts FPD in a new light. In addressing criminal activity, the FPD is doing relentless investigations and interaction with the community to solve crimes as quickly as possible. The FPD understands that community engagement is not only a scheduled event, but an everyday occurrence. Once a community feels and believes that their police department is exercising its main function of serving and protecting, a good foundation is in place for the flourishing of a positive relationship between the two entities.
Here is another statement about the FDP on community policing. “The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is a two- way communications between the police department and the community it serves. At the heart of the COPS philosophy is the thought that neighbors, working with police, could solve many neighborhood problems, before they lead to criminal problems. The Neighborhood Watch is an important part of this program.” The Urban League has a unique program known as The Federation of Block Units. This program has been around for years, teaching neighbors how to keep watch out for each other. The program requires a block captain and vice-captain for multiple purposes including organizing, engaging, and empowering all neighbors to feeling comfortable in communicating openly, monitoring, and reporting unusual activity in their neighborhoods. Block units reinforce the work of neighborhood associations, which keep neighbors informed primarily through neighborhood meetings. The FPD often visit neighborhood meetings to keep the citizens abreast on what is going on and more importantly to hear from the citizens.
Not only does the FPD need collaboration from the citizens it also needs the same collaboration from the surrounding municipalities. Only when we work together can we be most effective in eradicating crime. Shifting crime from one municipality to another is not solving crime.
Ferguson Police Chief Frank McCall and the Ferguson police officers are doing their duty to combat crime in various ways. Chief McCall drives an unmarked car around the city weekly to observe the hot spots and submits the information to the Mobile Response Team (MRT). FPD reminds us that one way we can deter crime in our neighborhoods is by locking our cars when we get out of them. The signs are posted around town, “Lock It or Lose It.” That will help to keep a multitude of guns off the streets in our community.
A taskforce has been created by the Chief of Police in St. Charles, the Chief of Police of Lake St. Louis, the President of the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs, and Mayors of the above mention cites. The purpose of the taskforce is to combat the rise in crime in their areas. This taskforce works! Since 2020, the taskforce has seen a major decline in crime, especially auto thefts, by offering this proactive approach to crime in their areas. The Chiefs encourage off duty officers to work the taskforce and be compensated with overtime hours. This only can be achieved with off duty officers. Officers are not expected to participate with the taskforce while they are on duty. Through this initiative, the number of officers on the street during all shifts is increased.
Due to the success of the taskforce model in the St. Charles area and the Lake St. Louis area, The Missouri Municipal League (MML) is exploring the taskforce concept for the 88 municipalities in St. Louis County. Governor Parson is scheduled to meet with a delegation of Mayors to discuss funding for overtime for the officers and a timetable for when MML will create a taskforce for the 88 municipalities. This taskforce will be modeled after the successful taskforce which is already in operation. A meeting will be scheduled in sometime in January for all the Chiefs of Police and Mayors who make up the 88 Municipalities. We are working to combat crime in all areas. It is not about lack of enforcement it’s about compliance and accountability.
Finally, since we are at the door of the Holiday Season, my hope is that you, your family, and friends enjoy the Holiday Season.
Mayor Ella Jones