In October 2018, the City of Clayton began a public engagement process in order to continue important conversations regarding race and equity in our community and how these relate to all services the City provides. 21st Century Policing Solutions (21CPS) and their partner Strategic Applications International (SAI) led this process for us. The City chose 21CPS and SAI based on their diverse team of experts, some of whom served on President Obama's 21st Century Task Force on Policing. Both have extensive experience working with diverse communities dealing with complex issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion and worked diligently to deliver a plan that was specifically designed for our community.

Approximately 112 people participated in the community discussions led by SAI and 21CPS over the past few months. Just under 80% of participants were Clayton residents, with about half of those self-identifying as homeowners. The City appreciates all those who took the time to get involved in these important discussions about the future of our community. On July 3, 2019, we received the final report from 21CPS and SAI outlining their findings and recommendations, which can be found here. 

The recommendations in the plan build on inclusivity and bring key stakeholder groups together to help design a community driven action plan through strategic engagement and constructive feedback. The recommended goals, action steps, and their recommendations are as follows:

Goal 1: Create opportunities for the City, Clayton Police Department (CPD), business owners and community residents to engage, on a regular basis, priority areas of community building that will create a Clayton that accurately reflects the community’s perception.
  1. Small group sessions between CPD and key stakeholder groups on a regular basis to establish and maintain open dialogue and problem solving
  2. Integrate the School District of Clayton Community Conversation events as an effective platform for ongoing dialogue
  3. City to establish a Diversity Working Group
  4. Establish a CPD Social Media presence to improve community interaction and dialogue with CPD

Status (as of 10/18/19): Our intention is to continue working toward community building efforts. Since last year, the Clayton Police Department (CPD) has engaged Clayton School District officials and the Washington University Police Department to increase engagement with the schools, students, and parents. Over the past year, the CPD has greatly increased its social media presence to improve community engagement and dialogue including increased, regular usage of NextDoor as well as the recent appointment of a new Police Public Information Officer (PIO). Since the appointment of the new PIO, their social media presence has increased by 195%. Furthermore, internal policies and procedures are being evaluated while working toward launching official “Clayton, MO Police Department” Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

On Tuesday,  September 24th , the Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted to establish a Community Equity Commission, which will provide them with an additional resource as well as special insight and guidance on matters of equity, diversity and inclusion. Learn more about the new Community Equity Commission here.

On Friday, October 18th, the Clayton Police and Fire Departments launched their new social media pages. Connect with them today:

Clayton Police Department: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Clayton Fire Department: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Goal 2: 21CPS and its partners recommend a thorough audit of the East Central Dispatch Center (ECDC) policy regarding the criteria used to determine when a Suspicious Person Call warrants the dispatch of an officer.

  1. Audit of ECDC’s call records and subsequent data encompassing FY2014-FY2018
  2. Review of current policies and standard operating procedures (SOP) for ECDC operator upon receipt of suspicious persons calls
  3. Conduct a random analysis of the ECDC call records to asses for reasonable suspicion or concern based on a caller’s threat identifiers and suspect description

Status (as of 9/11/19):  Our intention is to have a consultant perform an analysis on available past records. Additionally, we have made a formal request with East Central Dispatch Center (ECDC) for policies and SOPs to be reviewed as part of their upcoming accreditation process. Since many municipalities are part of ECDC, Clayton cannot make the decision unilaterally, but we have made the recommendation and will work with our neighbors to move this forward. We are working to identify potential consultants who provide this service and determine the associated costs.

Goal 3: On a regular basis, the City of Clayton should survey individuals who have gone through their municipal court system to learn more about defendant and plaintiff experiences with both the judicial system in Clayton as well as the police department.

  1. Develop and conduct a survey of municipal court and CPD arrestees
  2. Use to identify areas that need review and problem-solving to improve outcomes

Status (as of 10/18/19): Our intention is to identify a successful survey tool as well as other municipalities with whom to benchmark the results. At this time, we have located and contacted two other municipal courts that utilize an in-house Municipal Court Survey; however, they do not benchmark the results with other communities nor are they aware of other communities that utilize a survey tool. Upon recommendation from 21st Century Policing Solutions and SAI, Inc., we have also reached out and received information from the National Center for State Courts. Staff continues to research best practices and identify a successful survey tool.

Goal 4: Develop a Critical Incident Communications Plan between the Clayton Police Department, Clayton Mayor and Board of Aldermen, and the City Manager that defines a “critical incident” and outlines standard operating procedures for public communications, i.e. press conferences, public/media statements, and investigation timelines.

  1. Creating a working group to draft the CICP
  2. Draft the CICP
  3. Hold public comment on the draft CICP
  4. Hold a ceremony signing/celebrating the final agreement/plan

Status (as of 10/18/19): The creation of a Critical Incident Communications Plan is now underway. We have engaged our consultant with whom we have an existing contract and have defined the scope of the plan.

While some of the recommendations in the report are items the City has already completed as part of prior initiatives or is in the process of implementing, we will continue to work toward achieving the goals and objectives identified to help enhance communication and create and organizational framework to promote racial inclusion and reconciliation. Be sure to check this webpage for updates on the most current status.

We will continue learning from each other and make our City stronger for future generations.