CPE Publishes Redesigning Public Safety in the City of St. Louis: A Progress Report

November 02 2023

St. Louis, MO – The Center for Policing Equity (CPE) announces the publication of Redesigning Public Safety in the City of St. Louis: A Progress Report. The update includes details of accomplishments achieved through our partnership with the City of St. Louis to date and outlines the next steps in redesign work planned for St. Louis, MO. The publication shared today is a comprehensive follow-up to the April 2022 assessment Reimagining Public Safety in the City of St. Louis: A Vision for Change

Since 2017, CPE has partnered with the City of St. Louis to examine the city's existing public safety systems and, with the leadership of community stakeholders, develop and begin to implement a redesign of those systems. This work started with a CPE study that found significant and ongoing racial disparities in the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's (SLMPD) policing data. It expanded to include further partnerships with the Mayor’s Office, Department of Public Safety, Office of Violence Prevention, SLMPD, St. Louis Violence Prevention Commission, and other grassroots activists, residents, and stakeholders.

"The community has spoken and will continue to raise their voices,” said Juanisha Byrd, MPH, CPE Manager of Impact & Engagement. "Throughout the many hours of meetings, phone calls, and collaborative sessions, St. Louis has consistently proven their steadfast commitment to improving public safety for the good of the community. The passion of all those we continue to work with, from community members to city officials and elected leaders, is palpable and displays a demonstrable promise that true public safety redesign is within reach. We look forward to continuing this work to redefine safety so that it truly applies to all."

An example of progress achieved includes concerted efforts to activate the agency of the community and allow them to claim significant decision-making over public safety. These efforts included the conception of a community-led approach to creating new policies, such as a Use of Force Policy and a Behavioral Mental Health Policy for SLMPD and the Department of Public Safety review. The team also successfully launched a Public Safety Collaborative powered by Data Informed Community Engagement (DICE).  Our partnerships with the community included a thorough examination of critical gaps in domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and family violence support services.

The progress report published today outlines the next phase of CPE’s ongoing work in support of St. Louis’s journey to redesign public safety, which will continue to prioritize and center the voices and experiences of St. Louis community members and facilitate their leading role in redesigning public safety in St. Louis. Future facing work is expected to include: 

  • Continued collaboration with the Urban League to solidify the Public Safety Collaborative,  
  • Collaborating with the Office of Violence Prevention to support alternative responses to behavioral and mental health calls for service;
  • Supporting the implementation of select IPV/DV recommendations; 
  • Creating a comprehensive community awareness campaign to further spur community elevation and redesign involvement and 
  • Creating and analyzing a city-wide survey that captures sentiments around public safety. 

Learn more about CPE’s work in St. Louis in our latest blog post titled A Progress Report on Redesigning Public Safety in St. Louis.