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Posted on: June 9, 2020

A letter from Mayor Greenberg

Considering recent developments nationwide regarding police actions involving deadly force against blacks and other minorities, many citizens have been inquiring what policies and procedures our police department have in place to help prevent similar occurrences in Maplewood.

As we know, policies and procedures themselves are no guarantee that innocent lives will not be taken or that excessive force will not be used. It has become clear from incidents across the country that there are people serving in law enforcement that should not be in a position of power to make decisions that can result in injury or death of innocent citizens. In addition, the court system is the appropriate entity to decide a suspect’s fate through due process, not by an officer at the time of arrest. These principles are expressed in the Standards of Conduct General Order.

It is always best to take a proactive approach to proper policing and that is reinforced through a range of processes, procedures and policies practiced by the Maplewood Police Department. A statistic of note is that in Maplewood last year, the police department made 1,557 arrests and there was not a single allegation of excessive force filed against Maplewood officers.

The process of maintaining a competent, caring and professional staff starts with attracting the right candidates to our police department, having the appropriate policies in place and training the candidates properly. New hires are vetted through extensive background checks and psychological testing. They are assigned a Field Training Officer (FTO) typically for 12 weeks who will assist them in understanding our community, our policies and other essential information. They are considered probationary officers for 12 months before they are hired on a permanent basis or determined that they are not a good fit for our department and terminated.

The composition of the police force should represent and reflect the demographics of the community. The Maplewood Police Department consists of 33 commissioned officers and in a commitment to diversity and inclusion: 5 are black, 5 are women, and there are officers that are Puerto Rican, Vietnamese, Bosnian, Korean, and of Spanish descent.

Officer training is intensive and includes: Officer Well Being including mental health awareness, Fair and Impartial Policing Practices including Impact Bias Recognition, Handling persons with mental health impairment issues, Tactical training to include de-escalation techniques and crisis management, critical thinking and social intelligence along with Legal Studies, Technical Studies, Interpersonal Studies and Firearms/Skill.

There are a minimum of 24 hours of continuing education annually mandated by the Missouri Police Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) and every peace officer with the authority to enforce motor vehicle or traffic laws is required obtain at least three hours of bias-based and/or racial profiling training. Lesson plans include Weapon Retention/Disarming, Defensive Counterstrikes, Pressure Point Control Tactics, Tactical Handcuffing, OC Pepper Spray, ASP Baton Implementation, and Escort Position and Joint Lock Control. Embedded in these lesson plans are techniques designed to immobilize and control aggression and resistance and to specifically refrain from any response that would result in permanent damage or death.

Since our officers are considered first responders and make the initial contact in dangerous and complex situations, they are trained to address mental health issues and suicide prevention and have done so with exemplary results. The department has access to and utilizes additional consulting mental health resources. Our BJC liaison is trained in situations that require specialized expertise in the field that officers would have to get an additional advanced degree to achieve.

It should be noted that Maplewood was the eighth department in the region to achieve accreditation from CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies). Their website can be found at https://www.calea.org/.  There are approximately 34 municipalities in the state that have expended the time and effort to meet the requirements to become accredited and we are one of the smallest communities to do so. This is important in that we follow internationally established guidelines for policies, procedures and reporting. It also allows us to better coordinate our efforts with other departments. Our general orders must meet and/or exceed the very stringent standards that CALEA updates on a regular basis. The department also must meet re-accreditation requirements every three years.

Because of these standards, we can work effectively with the other member cities of ECDC (East Central Dispatch Center) to respond to incidents in a unified and efficient manner. The ECDC members include Maplewood, Richmond Heights, Brentwood, Webster Groves, Shrewsbury, Clayton, Rock Hill and Olivette. The creation of ECDC has resulted in greater efficiency, reduced redundancy and sharing of resources that would not be possible for each of the individual departments to provide on their own.

Maplewood has implemented the use of body cameras and has established policies that result in greater accountability and transparency for our officers and allow for review of how incidents are handled. Our officers respond to dangerous situations where a large amount of information needs to be processed in a very short time frame. In order to prepare and train for these instances, the police department shares MILO Range, with the Webster Groves Police Department. MILO Range is not just a “police firearm training system” or a simple “use-of-force” and force options simulator; it is a “human interaction simulator”. The focus is not on shooting, because the officer’s firearm wont always be the right choice for the situation. MILO offers scenario-based police training that requires the trainee to choose the appropriate tactic, whether or not that requires the use of a weapon. While marksmanship will always be of utmost importance, police officer’s decision-making ability is often more crucial to maintaining public safety. The instructor controls the virtual experience to create a challenging scenario that requires the trainee to employ specific de-escalation or force options.

The Maplewood Police Department maintains and regularly updates a manual consisting of 151 general orders, that follow State and Federal guidelines and rigorous CALEA requirements. These policies address professional and proper behavior expected of our officers and are designed to maintain law and order, respect the rights of citizens and protect our officers in the execution of their duties. I have attached links to the five general orders that I feel address the concerns I have heard from our citizens. They are:

General Order 2009.04 - Standards of Conduct                            

General Order 2010.37 - Training                                                          

General Order 2009.05 - Disciplinary System                                   

General Order 2009.14 - Response to Resistance                        

General Order 2010.05 - Civil Disturbance / Mass Arrests           

Many citizens have specifically referenced the "8 Can’t Wait" use of force policies by Campaign Zero. This provides an excellent opportunity to illustrate how the Maplewood Police Department address these concerns through their general orders. I have listed the concerns along with a reference to locations where the concern is dealt with:

  • BAN CHOKEHOLDS & STRANGLEHOLDS - Allowing officers to choke or strangle civilians, in many cases where less lethal force could be used instead, results in the unnecessary death or serious injury of civilians.

See General Order: 2009.14 Response to Resistance

General, Sections A, B, C and Procedures, Sections A through H

 Commentary: Vascular neck restraint techniques are not taught in training. A variety of non-lethal methods are prescribed depending on the specific situation an officer finds himself/herself in. In addition, the officer is required to make medical treatment available per Section I. Medical Considerations

  • REQUIRE DE-ESCALATION - Require officers to de-escalate situations, where possible, by communicating with subjects, maintaining distance, and otherwise eliminating the need to use force.

See General Order: 2009.14 Response to Resistance 

General, Sections A, B, C and Procedures, Sections A through H

  • REQUIRE WARNING BEFORE SHOOTING - Require officers to give a verbal warning, when possible, before shooting at a civilian.

See General Order: 2009.14 Response to Resistance 

General, Sections A, B, C and Procedures, Sections A through H

Commentary: When using escalation of force with lethal force being the last resort, the decision to use lethal force and the implementation of lethal force are sequential. Announcing intent to shoot a suspect is not necessarily an effective deterrent for a suspect to surrender to police and can actually produce the opposite effect.

  • REQUIRES EXHAUST ALL ALTERNATIVES BEFORE SHOOTING - Require officers to exhaust all other reasonable means before resorting to deadly force.

See General Order: 2009.14 Response to Resistance

General, Sections A, B, C and Procedures, Sections A through H, Specifically G

  • DUTY TO INTERVENE - Require officers to intervene and stop excessive force used by other officers and report these incidents immediately to a supervisor.

See General Order 2009.05 Disciplinary System, General Procedures, Section B

See General Order 2009.04 Standard of Conduct, Procedures, Sections A, C, L, Q, and R

 Commentary: The prescribed course of action is to immediately contact the supervising officer if an officer observes behavior contrary to department policy. This places the decision making process in the most capable hands and eliminates differing perspectives and courses of action proposed by officers of various levels of experience. 

  • BAN SHOOTING AT MOVING VEHICLES - Restrict officers from shooting at moving vehicles, which is regarded as a particularly dangerous and ineffective tactic.

See General Order 2009.14 Response to Resistance

Procedures, Section G.4.a.2

Commentary: Examples of acceptable exceptions, as allowed in this section, would be when a vehicle is being used as a lethal weapon or if occupants of a vehicle are firing into a crowd or using an automatic weapon.

  • REQUIRE USE OF FORCE CONTINUUM - Develop a Force Continuum that limits the types of force and/or weapons that can be used to respond to specific types of resistance.

See General Order: 2009.14 Response to Resistance 

General, Sections A, B, C and Procedures, Sections A through H

  • REQUIRE COMPREHENSIVE REPORTING - Require officers to report each time they use force or threaten to use force against civilians.

See General Order: 2009.14 Response to Resistance 

General, Sections A, B, C and Procedures, Sections G through L, Specifically M, N, and O

Commentary: There are strict requirements in the CALEA guidelines that the Maplewood Police Department adheres to governing report format and generation. The department utilizes a report generation service to ensure uniform and comprehensive reports are produced.


Mayor Barry Greenberg


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