Mayor Slay Nominates New Candidate to Serve on  City's First Civilian Oversight Board

This Friday the Board of Aldermen will introduce Mayor Francis Slay's nomination.

December 2, 2015 | 4 min reading time
ST. LOUIS -- Mayor Francis Slay's nomination for the seventh member of the City's newly-established Civilian Oversight Board will be introduced before the Board of Aldermen this Friday. This citizens board will be responsible for independently receiving and reviewing complaints about the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Mayor Slay has nominated David Bell as the candidate for District Three, representing Wards 1, 4, 22, and 26, following Deborah Ahmed's withdrawal from consideration.

David is a 42-year-old African-American man, who earned his Masters of Science in Nursing from Saint Louis University and currently works both as a Registered Nurse in the Emergency Department at Saint Louis University and as a Registered Nurse Supervisor for the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health. He volunteers his time on community outreach projects, which have included partnerships with several local churches and non-profit organizations. David is a resident of the 26th Ward.

"I am happy that David has committed to serving on this board to help enhance trust between police officers and the community," Mayor Slay said. "He, along with six other strong members of our community have pledged to be fair and objective and to make decisions based only upon the facts and evidence before them. They must be fair to citizens and to police and must protect their rights, ensuring that civilians have a role in our police department, and increasing transparency."

Six other diverse and highly-qualified board members nominated by Mayor Slay have been confirmed by the Board of Aldermen. They are:

District One (Wards 2, 3, 21, 27): Ciera Simril

Ciera is a 27-year-old African-American woman currently working at US Bank, a position she's held for the last 10 months. She formerly interned at the St. Louis American. Ciera earned her B.A. in Communications from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2013. She has served as a past member of the Urban League, a past Program Coordinator for the North Newstead Association, and a current facilitator of the Neighborhood Ownership Model for the North Pointe, Walnut Park East, and Walnut Park West Neighborhoods. Ciera also received the Neighborhood Star, an award from police and the Circuit Attorneys Office, for acting as an intermediary between police and neighborhood residents who were afraid to speak to officers. Alderman Carter endorsed this candidate.

District Two (Wards 5, 6, 18, 19): Jane Abbott-Morris

Jane is a 64-year-old African-American woman, who is a self-employed business owner of "Human Resources Select Services," serving as the president and CEO since 1999. She is also a certified Equal Employment Opportunity Investigator, examining cases of alleged discrimination based upon race, sex, disability, national origin, and religion, as well as cases of alleged harassment. She earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Harris Teacher's College, an M.S. in Counseling Education from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, as well as an M.S. in Public Administration from Webster University.  Jane is a part of a multitude of organizations, past and present, including founding Teen Leaders &Communicators and the Grand Center Toastmaster Chapter, as well as membership in the Coalition of 100 Black Women, Association for Training and Development, NAACP, NOBLE, Top Ladies of Distinction, Human Resources Management Association, and the St. Louis Minority Business Corp.

District Four (Wards 7, 8, 9, 17): Lawrence C. Johnson

Lawrence is a 68-year-old African-American man, who is currently retired.  He earned a B.A. from St. Olaf College, and a J.D. from Boston College Law. Lawrence is a retired hearing officer at the Illinois Department of Human Services. In 2007, he and his family moved to the City of St. Louis from Springfield, Ill, where Lawrence chaired the Human Relations Task Force.  Lawrence is past president and current board member of the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association and was instrumental in leading and communicating with his neighborhood during civil unrest. Alderman Conway endorsed this candidate.

District Five (Wards 11, 12, 13, 16): Bradley T. Arteaga

Brad Arteaga is a 49-year-old Caucasian man, who is the owner of "Arteaga Photos Ltd," which he has operated in the City since 1984. He is the past presidents of both the Southtown Business Association and the St. Louis Hill Neighborhood Association. He currently serves as a board member of the St. Louis Second District Police Business Association. Brad grew up in the Baden neighborhood before moving to St. Louis Hills. Alderman Baringer endorsed this candidate.

District Six (Wards 14, 15, 20, 25): Heather Highland

Heather is a 39-year-old Hispanic woman, who has been a defense attorney for Fredman &Fredman P.C. since 2000. She earned her B.A. in Spanish and Criminology from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a law degree from Saint Louis University. Heather is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, has been featured in "CLOUT: Influential Pol, Pals, and Pundits," and is a member of Join Hands and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. Aldermen Green, Spencer, and Cohn endorsed this candidate.

District Seven (Wards 10, 23, 24, 28): Stephen Rovak

Steve is a 67-year-old Caucasian man, who is a current partner at Dentons US LLP. He is a former JAG officer, with 30 years commissioned service in the Air Force and Army, retiring from active reserves in 2000 with the rank of colonel. He completed a Fellowship in Forensic Medicine at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Walter Reed Medical Center, earned an M.S. in Forensic Sciences from George Washington University, and his law degree from Harvard. Steve is currently a member of the institutional review board for Washington University School of Medicine, as well as co-chair of the Mediation Committee of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. Alderwoman Krewson endorsed this candidate.

As outlined in Board Bill 208CS, each confirmed member must complete the Citizens Academy and training before hearing the first case.


  • Department:
    Office of the Mayor
  • Topic:
    Police
    Equality

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