The 1990s: Focus on Regional Cooperation
In the early 1990s came the appointment of Colonel Ronald A. Battelle as Superintendent of Police. Colonel Battelle began using the title of Chief of Police shortly after his appointment. Chief Battelle was the first Superintendent to be promoted to this position from within the ranks of the Department.
Realizing it was imperative, the Department adopted a far-reaching regional approach to crime issues. Chief Battelle set a new course for the Department. He strove to develop better relationships with all of the area’s law enforcement agencies in order to work together to achieve a common goal: making St. Louis County a safe and secure place for all of its citizens.
The Department’s logo was changed to reflect its primary mission, “To Serve and Protect.”
The Municipal Services Unit was created to enhance the coordination and delivery of the Department’s services to local law enforcement agencies, as well as identifying areas in which the Department could expand services to the County’s municipalities.
Community Service Officers were assigned to each precinct, with the primary duty to make public appearances at schools, businesses and community organizations.
The Department also initiated the Neighborhood Watch Program. The Community Service Officer worked with groups of residents from neighborhoods who became the “eyes and ears” within their neighborhoods, helping to reduce crime. By 1993, the Department managed more than 450 neighborhood watch groups. A Neighborhood Policing philosophy was instituted and patrol officers were assigned to a specific area so that they could better resolve problems within the community.
The Department established an Intelligence Unit, operating and reporting directly to the Chief’s Office. The function of the Intelligence Unit was to investigate organized crime and gather information on events relevant to law enforcement in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area as a whole.
The Combined Urban Fugitive Force (CUFF) was also organized under the Intelligence Unit. The unit was comprised of officers from St. Louis County, as well as officers from federal, county and municipal police agencies. CUFF’s primary objective was to increase the apprehension rate of persons who had been charged with felony crimes.
The Office of Emergency Management (formerly the Office of Civil Preparedness) continued to develop plans and provide training for dealing with disasters. The County’s Emergency Warning System had grown from 18 sirens, when introduced in the 1950s, to 205, providing more effective coverage for the County’s growing number of residents.
The Division of Criminal Investigation developed an enviable record for solving crimes, a record that exceeded the national average and earned the respect and admiration of other law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The clearance rate in 1990 for murders was one hundred percent.
Members of the St. Louis County Police Bicycle Patrol.
The Department established the Bicycle Patrol Program as part of its community policing effort. Asset forfeiture funds seized from drug operations were used to purchase all-terrain police bicycles for use by specially trained officers.
A Citizen Police Academy was developed to promote understanding and cooperation between the Department and the people it served. Because of the overall success of the Citizen Police Academy the Department created a Teen Academy, which has also experienced great success.
Recognizing the problem with drug trafficking in the County, the Department reinstated the K-9 Unit to assist in the detection and investigation of illegal drugs. Due to a rising trend of gang activity in the County, a position was created for a Gang Task Force coordinator within the Bureau of Drug Enforcement. An undercover drug enforcement team was formed to combat the growing threat of illegal drug trafficking within St. Louis County.
The basic training course for new officers was increased from 640 to 800 hours and all County and all County and . To improve firearms training, the Department purchased a mobile pistol range.
The Bureau of Crimes Against Persons formed the Domestic Violence Unit in 1995, which offered continuous support services to victims of domestic violence. Detectives in the Unit also review and track incidents of domestic violence, elderly abuse and incidents of stalking.
In 1995, the Department initiated a pilot program, placing uniformed officers in area schools as School Resource Officers and established a 24-hour SAFE Schools Hotline to address concerns within our school setting. Later that year, the St. Louis County Police Retiree’s Association was created giving those instrumental in the Department’s formation an opportunity to remain involved in the organization. The association meets 5-7 times a year and holds luncheons and picnics for their members and families.
In 1998, the Department received a Certificate of Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). The Department is the largest local law enforcement agency in the State of Missouri to receive the CALEA accreditation. CALEA certification consists of a comprehensive review of policies and operations. At the time, only four hundred fifty of the country’s seventeen thousand law enforcement agencies had achieved this accreditation.