Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving: My Message to Employees

The last several months have been a busy and emotional time. Everyone has worked hard and performed well in some very stressful situations.

During normal times we would be preparing for a holiday, giving thanks and spending time with our family and friends.

This year things are different. This year we are charged with the responsibility of providing the safety for those who call St. Louis home during a particularly trying time in our history.  

Even though this is a busy and unprecedented time, please know that your efforts are producing results.  It's a very old story in law enforcement that you never get credit for what you prevent.  Still, you know and I know that whatever has happened and whatever will happen next, this city is immeasurably safer with you on the job, more than it could ever be without you.  Civilization is a fragile thing.  It takes thousands of years to build and only moments to place in peril.  The people who protect it in those moments are called the police. 

One thing about extraordinary circumstances like these, is that they leave no doubt for what, and to whom, this city should be thankful.  So let me be the first to say what millions of people are rightly thinking.

Thank you all.  Thanks for everything you do, for everything you risk, for everything you sacrifice, for everything you endure and for everything you accomplish. 

During this holiday our time at home will be limited, but I want to take a moment to thank you for the job you do and to wish you and your families a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.

Chief Sam Dotson

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our First Priority

This week, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office confirmed that a grand jury continues to hear evidence and that they expect a decision on charges for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson soon. Although I can’t predict the outcome of the process or what may occur as a result of the decision, as the City’s Chief of Police, I can reassure you of the Metropolitan Police Department’s commitment to your safety and your rights.

No matter what the announcement is, the department’s first priority is to protect and serve our citizens…and that includes protesters. And we are ready to do so.

Our department has sat down with protest organizers and had valuable conversations to ensure their rights are protected. We have also met with residents, neighborhood groups, other City departments, other police departments, elected officials and business owners to assure them of our commitment to their safety.

We have consistently said the same thing to everyone: While everyone is welcomed to the City of St. Louis to exercise their First Amendment rights and let their voices be heard and their cause advanced, doing so while putting the lives of other citizens or officers at risk will not be tolerated.

So far, unlike Los Angeles in 1992 and Cincinnati in 2001, there has been no loss of life as a result of civil unrest. I credit our officers’ training and the protesters’ organizers for that.

I hope that continues.