Police Department Promotions
The percentage of commissioned officers who were promoted in the City of St. Louis
Black officers are nearly as likely to be promoted as white officers.
A score of 100 represents racial equity, meaning there are no racial disparities in outcomes. The lower the Equity Score, the greater the disparity.
For Police Department Promotions, a score of 100 — a score reflecting racial equity — would mean black and white commissioned officers are equally likely to be promoted. It is important to note that for this indicator, equity is not our only goal: we also want to improve outcomes for all.
What does this indicator measure?
Police Department Promotions measures the percentage of commissioned officers who were promoted in the City of St. Louis. Promotions include promotions to the roles of Police Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, and Police Commissioner. This does not include promotions of probationary officers to commissioned officers. In 2017, there were 41 total promotions, or 3.5% of commissioned officers.
Police Department Promotions Analysis
Promotion rate of commissioned officers in St. Louis City.
|1.048 to 1
Data Source: Personnel Department, City of St. Louis, 2017.
What does this analysis mean?
Black officers are nearly as likely to be promoted as white officers. In 2017, 3.5% of white officers were promoted, compared to 3.4% of black officers. Officers of other minorities — individuals who identify as Hispanic, Native American, or Asian — have the lowest likelihood of being promoted of 2.6%: only one of the 39 non-black, non-white officers was promoted in 2017. If one more black officer had been promoted, black officers would have been slightly more likely than white officers to be promoted.
Why do Police Department Promotions matter?
As officers move up the ranks, they have increased ability to influence policy, culture, and decision making. They also earn increased benefits. In addition, equitable promotion practices may help retain talented minority officers and decrease the attrition rate.
Which Calls to Action from the Ferguson Commission report are linked with this indicator?
Though there is not a specific Call to Action about police demographics, equitable staffing practices have been shown to contribute to the overall vision of a culturally competent, community-oriented, and trusted police department. Police reforms to build trust between communities and police officers are central to the Ferguson Commission report. Equitable promotion practices suggest officers of all races are evaluated and rewarded without bias.
Questions for further investigation
- Why is there a racial disparity in Police Department Promotions?
- What can St. Louis do to reduce racial disparities in Police Department Promotions?
- What initiatives are currently underway to reduce racial disparities in Police Department Promotions?