Civilian Oversight Board

Details about the Civilian Oversight Board


An independent civilian review board, entitled the St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board is hereby established, pursuant to § 590.653, RSMo., comprised solely of members of the public with the authority to investigate allegations of police misconduct, research and assess police policies, operations and procedures, and make findings and recommendations, as provided in this section.
The St. Louis Civilian Oversight Board shall be a division of the Public Safety Department of the City of St. Louis.
Seven (7) members, all who are nominated by the Mayor of the City of St. Louis and confirmed by the Board of Aldermen

Apply to Serve (3 openings) View board website
Openings include appointments labeled "Serving Beyond Term."

Board Members

Showing 6 active board members (maximum 7)
Name Role End Date
Bradley Arteaga Member 12/31/2023
David Bell Member 12/31/2023
Stephen Rovak Member 12/31/2023
Ciera Simril Member 12/31/2023
Jane Abbott-Morris Member 12/31/2021
Serving Beyond Term
Frank Copanas Member 12/31/2021
Serving Beyond Term

Authorizing Legislation

Ordinance 70532, Ordinance 69984
Rev. Mo. Stat. 590.653

Board Duties and Purpose

The board shall have the power to receive, investigate, make findings and recommend disciplinary action upon complaints by members of the public against members of the police department that allege misconduct involving excessive use of force, abuse of authority, discourtesy, or use of offensive language, including, but not limited to, slurs relating to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability. The findings and recommendations of the board, and the basis therefor, shall be submitted to the chief law enforcement official. No finding or recommendation shall be based solely upon an unsworn complaint or statement, nor shall prior unsubstantiated, unfounded or withdrawn complaints be the basis for any such findings or recommendations.

Member Requirements

Appointments require Board of Aldermen approval.

3.140.030 - Membership, qualifications, appointment, terms, etc.
1. COB.
The COB shall consist of seven (7) members of the public nominated by the Mayor of the City of St. Louis and confirmed by the Board of Aldermen.
2. Qualifications. To qualify for nomination, confirmation, and continued service on the COB, an individual must satisfy all of the following qualifications:
A. The individual must be a resident of the City of St. Louis.
B. The individual must have reached the age of eighteen (18) by the date that they will take office as a member of the COB.
C. The individual must not hold any public office within the State of Missouri.
D. The individual must not be an employee of the City of St. Louis or of the State of Missouri.
E. The individual may not have an immediate family member who is currently employed by the Police Department.
F. The individual must not have been convicted of any State or Federal criminal offense constituting a felony. A conviction includes a finding of guilt by the trier of fact, a guilty plea, an Alford plea and/or any acknowledgment of guilt (suspended execution).
3. Fairness.
The Mayor shall nominate to the COB and the Board of Aldermen shall confirm to the COB only citizens who can be fair and objective. The COB members shall always serve as neutrals who do not favor the complainant or the accused police officer, and shall act and make decisions in their capacity as COB members based only upon the facts and the evidence before them. At any given time, the COB may not have more than one (1) member who previously was a commissioned employee of any municipal, state, or federal law enforcement agency. No individual shall be considered to be a commissioned employee of any municipal, state, or federal law enforcement agency solely because of the individual served in the United States Military.
4. COB Districts.
There shall be one COB member who resides in each of the seven (7) Civilian Oversight Board Districts ("COB districts"). Each COB district shall consist of four (4) aldermanic wards as follows:
A. District One: Wards 2, 3, 21, 27.
B. District Two: Wards 5, 6, 18, 19.
C. District Three: Wards 1, 4, 22, 26.
D. District Four: Wards 7, 8, 9, 17.
E. District Five: Wards 11, 12, 13, 16.
F. District Six: Wards 14, 15, 20, 25.
G. District Seven: Wards 10, 23, 24, 28.
If there are any future changes in the number of Aldermen, the Board of Aldermen shall by ordinance reduce the number of wards that constitute each COB district. Any such reduction shall ensure that the composition of the COB continues to reflect the diversity of the City.
5. Appointment Process. COB members shall be confirmed as follows:
A. Recommendation.
Within thirty days of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter and within thirty days of any vacancy on the COB, the Clerk of the Board of Aldermen shall deliver to the Office of the Mayor the names of any qualified individuals recommended by the Aldermen for the COB district position that is vacant. Any individuals recommended by Aldermen must reside within the COB district and must meet all qualifications for service as a COB member at the time the individuals are recommended.
B. Nomination.
Within thirty (30) days of receipt of recommended names, the Mayor shall deliver to the Board of Aldermen nominations for the vacant COB positions. The Mayor may nominate any qualified person to serve as a COB member for that COB district; however, before nominating a COB member, the Mayor shall consider for nomination any individual recommended by the Aldermen in the respective COB district.
C. Confirmation.
Within ninety days of the Mayor's nomination, the Public Safety Committee of the Board of Aldermen shall hold public hearings concerning the nominees and the Board of Aldermen shall vote on whether to confirm the nominees. If a majority of the members of the Board of Aldermen vote to confirm a nominee, the nominee shall be appointed as a COB member. In the event an individual is not confirmed by a majority of the Board of Aldermen, the Mayor shall deliver to the Board of Aldermen a new nominee for that COB district within thirty days of the Board of Aldermen voting not to confirm the prior nominee.
6. Term of Office.
Except with respect to initial terms, each member of the COB shall serve for a four (4) year term, with terms expiring on December 31st of the designated year. Once appointed and confirmed, a member shall serve until a successor is appointed notwithstanding the expiration of the term. No member may serve more than two (2) consecutive terms. Any member of the COB shall be removed for misconduct arising from the violation of any of the rules regarding the Sunshine Law, privacy rights and the handling of records as outlined in the ordinance, in accordance with COB procedures adopted pursuant to Section 3.140.040, subsection 7.
7. Initial Terms.
The first members appointed to the COB after adoption of the ordinance codified in this chapter shall serve initial terms as follows: the initial terms for members of the COB from even-numbered COB districts shall be two (2) years; the initial terms for members of the COB from odd-numbered COB districts shall be four (4) years.
8. Selection.
Ninety (90) days before the expiration of a COB member's term a notice from the COB shall be sent to the Board of Aldermen and Mayor giving notice of the upcoming expiring term. After this notice the remaining selection process shall follow the initial selection procedure described in this section.
9. Vacancies.
Vacancies on the COB occasioned by resignation, expiration of term, loss of qualifications, or otherwise, shall be reported in writing to the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen by the COB. The vacancy shall be filled as set forth in the initial selection section of this chapter. Individuals considered for appointment to fill the vacancy shall be from the same COB district as the individual being replaced. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be for the unexpired portion of a term.
10. Compensation.
The members of the COB shall serve without compensation of any kind.

Questions and Feedback

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Michael McLemore
Boards and Commissions Liaison
(314) 622-3201
Email & full profile

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