Defund the police! That’s a rally cry heard recently from social activists in many cities, St. Louis included. Defunding police departments would equate to eliminating them. Not only is that an impractical solution to real problems, it surely would result in some form of anarchy. A concerted effort to remake, reorganize and refocus the mission of police departments is a more likely course of action.
St. Louis is in dire need of a police agency that is responsive to its citizenry. Changing the culture of the police department is a first step, but one paramount to success. The St. Louis P.D. is an organization beholden to the “Who-do-you-know?” management system. The department’s operating premise can be viewed as a 3-legged stool: nepotism, cronyism and favoritism.
So, eliminating the ability of influential people to manipulate the hiring, assignment and promotion of police personnel will be a necessary step, but only one step, toward cobbling a truly professional police department. But be forewarned: nepotism, cronyism and favoritism will not go quietly into oblivion.
Michael K. Broughton