News Center for Community Health Partnership & Research Gun Violence Initiative

St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission Releases Statement on Policing and Violence Prevention

Written by Kim Furlow, Institute for Public Health

The St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission (VPC) has released a list of recommendations for policing and violence prevention. The recommendations are the culmination of a year of community listening sessions, interviews with law enforcement stakeholders, and an online police legitimacy survey. This process has been part of VPC’s objective to activate the community to strengthen police legitimacy.

The Institute for Public Health is a founding member and provides infrastructure support to the St. Louis Area Violence Prevention Commission (VPC). The commission is a regional, cross-sector initiative that works to reduce violent crime in the region by promoting and advocating for coordinated, well-resourced policies, support systems, and interventions among area governments, institutions and agencies that serve individuals and families most at risk of violent crime.

The recommendations address the themes of accountability/transparency, human resources, community engagement, and alternatives to police contact. The first recommendation that has the greatest potential to be transformative for public safety, is to allow community members’ input into the collective bargaining process between the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, their police departments, and the police unions.

In addition to the recommendations, VPC also endorses the Forward Through Ferguson Calls to Action with special focus on transparency and accountability and the Coalition Against Police Crimes & Repression – 2021 Budget Proposal including several recommendations for reinvestment of funds into human services and public safety. The recommendations also include policy recommendations for police interaction with transgender people, the group with the lowest ratings of police legitimacy on the survey.