The Policing topic examines the recruitment and role of police officers within the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in the justice system.

Topic Score

Equity Score 53.75 Score is an average of this topic's indicator scores


The eight indicators in this topic quantify racial disparities in policing, and suggest ways we can make progress toward equitable outcomes. The indicator reports that follow will allow the City of St. Louis and all stakeholders to evaluate policies from a fact-based, verifiable perspective. We’ll be able to learn from the data, see what’s working and what’s falling short, and use these insights to double down on good investments and experiment with new policies.

The Policing topic examines the demographics of the police department, the police recruiting pipeline, and how residents experience policing.

Today, the demographics of the police force do not fully reflect the community it serves. Racial disparities persist throughout the talent pipeline for police officers, from the number of applicants to trainee graduation rates. Black people are less likely to apply to be a police officer and less likely to complete officer training. 

However, minority officers are earning leadership positions at nearly equal rates as white officers. Equitable promotion practices will help the City of St. Louis retain the experienced officers it needs. 

The data also show that currently, residents of different races experience law enforcement differently. Black people in St. Louis are more likely to be stopped while driving, be arrested for municipal violations, and live in areas where police report more incidents of use of force. 

Lastly, the police force has not yet reached its goal of having 100% of patrol officers complete intensive crisis intervention training. A frequently trained and better prepared police force will help minimize unnecessary use of force.

A racially equitable police department will reflect the community it serves, enforce laws without bias or disparity, be trained to effectively and appropriately intervene in crises, and operate with the trust of the residents in St. Louis, regardless of their race.  

For the Equity Indicators Project, the measures chosen focus on racial disparities. The indicators are reflective of the Ferguson Commission calls to action around law enforcement, but not all law-enforcement-related calls to action are addressed within the scope of this project. 


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What is our equity score for this topic?


The higher the score on a scale from 1 to 100, the closer we are towards achieving equity. 

Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are reflected in this topic?

Specific calls to action from the Ferguson Commission's report addressed in this topic include:

What institutions and organizations were assessed?

The indicators in this topic assess the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, which serves the City of St. Louis. The indicators do not assess the Missouri Highway Patrol or police forces in Saint Louis County.

Where did the data come from?

The data used in this topic comes from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the Personnel Department at the City of St. Louis, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office, and the American Community Survey. 

What stakeholders were consulted?

Stakeholders consulted include the leadership of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the City of St. Louis Director of Public Safety, the Ethical Society of Police, and Forward Through Ferguson.

What metrics are missing and why?

Several important metrics related to meaningful police reform, such as community trust in police and community-oriented policing, could not be included in this report. As the SLMPD transitions to a more community-oriented police department under the leadership of Chief John Hayden, data on these metrics are slated to become available for future reports. The City of St. Louis is also working with the Vera Institute and the National Police Foundation to identify and implement ways to build resident definitions of good police performance into existing reporting packages and processes.

Policing Equity Indicators

Number Indicator Equity Score
1 P1: Police Department Representation
White residents are more than twice as likely as black residents to be represented in the Police Department.
2 P2: Police Applicants  
White residents are 16% more likely to submit job applications to the Police Department than black residents.
3 P3: Academy Retention
Black trainees are more than three times as likely to resign or be dismissed from the Police Academy as white trainees. 
4 P4: Police Promotions
Black officers are nearly as likely to be promoted as white officers.
5 P5: Traffic Stops
Black drivers are nearly twice as likely to be stopped by police officers as white drivers.
6 P6: Municipal Arrests
A black person is more than twice as likely to be arrested for municipal violations as a white person.
7 P7: Use of Force
Officers report use-of-force incidents nearly three times as often in majority-black neighborhoods as in majority-white neighborhoods.
8 P8: Crisis Intervention Training
74% of patrol officers have chosen to complete Crisis Intervention Team training.
  2018 Equity Score 53.75


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