Messages from Mayor Harris and Chief Smith
Message from Mayor Harris
We all have been moved by the tragic death of George Floyd and inspired by the peaceful protests locally and around the world. On behalf of the Board of Aldermen and Police Department, today I signed the Obama Foundation’s “Commit to Action” Pledge in support of fair and informed community policing. The Pledge asks mayors and councils to review use of force policies, engage the community in the conversation, and implement changes where necessary.
I am pleased to report that the City of Clayton has been on this path for some time. Our approach to public safety emphasizes the humanity and dignity of every person. Working with the Police Department, we have essentially fulfilled the goals of the Pledge and continue to evaluate our policies and practices. The Board of Aldermen and I encourage ongoing conversation and education about racism and inequality.
Last year, the Clayton Community Equity Commission was created to further engage our community in efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in Clayton. This group will continue to have a significant role as we aim to continue our support of the Obama Foundation’s “Commit to Action” Pledge.
I am proud that Clayton has been the host of many peaceful demonstrations with our officers working hard to ensure everyone’s safety. Thank you for sending many heartfelt emails with stories about Clayton police officers exhibiting professionalism and exceeding expectations in a wide variety of situations, including the protests. I assure you their commitment to best practices and our community is clear.
Thank you for your continued support.
Message from Chief Smith
Over the last two weeks, we have witnessed the nation and world mourn the horrific death of George Floyd. The disturbing actions of those officers have impacted the relationships between the police and communities across America. The Clayton Police Department firmly believes that every individual deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
Each member of the Clayton Police Department believes strongly in our mission “to serve the Clayton community with PRIDE (Professionalism, Respect, Innovation, Dedication & Excellence).” We are committed to working with the community to provide a safe environment for all residents and visitors alike. This cannot be accomplished without the trust of those we serve.
The Clayton Police Department is an internationally accredited law enforcement agency (CALEA) and every police officer is certified through the Missouri Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission (POST). Our police officers are held to high standards and complete extensive training each year ranging from crisis intervention to de-escalation techniques.
In 2018, our policies were reviewed by 21st Century Policing Solutions, some of whom served on President Obama’s 21st Century Task Force on Policing, and enhancements were made based on their recommendations. Our policies explicitly prohibit the willful maltreatment of any person. The excessive use, or misuse of force, including the use of any restraint on the neck, is strictly forbidden. Police officers who witness any form of willful maltreatment are charged with the responsibility of making every reasonable effort to intervene and stop the behavior. They are also required to report such an incident to a supervisor as soon as possible.
Last year, our officers each received an average of 56 hours of extensive training on topics to include, but not limited to: Procedural Justice, De-escalation Techniques, Fair and Impartial Policing, Implicit Bias Recognition, Crisis Intervention (Mental Health Awareness), and scenario-based Use of Force.
We will continue to review our policies to ensure they are aligned with best practices and the values of our community. The men and women of the Clayton Police Department remain committed to serve every individual with respect and professionalism, and I am proud to serve alongside them as they work tirelessly to remain engaged and ensure everyone’s safety.
Mark J. Smith
Chief of Police
Clayton Police Department